Category Archives: Fiction

Lanterns Across the Snow

If you’re like me, you associate Susan Hill with Gothic spookiness (The Woman in Black) and/or murder (her series of Simon Serrailler mysteries.) Lanterns Across the Snow is neither one nor the other, though her usual predilections peek out in … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Historical Fiction | Leave a comment


It’s often easiest to review books when they stay inside generic boundaries, and the smaller the box, the better. This is a cozy mystery, this is a thriller, this is a western. If you like what goes in this box, … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Mysteries, Religion, Speculative Fiction | Leave a comment


I find it difficult to describe the experience of reading the short fiction of Alice Munro. Usually, I like my short stories to be a little bit weird and experimental — to play with form, the way George Saunders does, … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Short Stories/Essays | 8 Comments

Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death

A couple of years ago, I watched the Grantchester mysteries on PBS Masterpiece. I enjoyed them thoroughly (I would enjoy anything with Robson Green in it!) and didn’t think much more about it. But when I discovered that the show … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mysteries | 10 Comments

All the Birds in the Sky

As children, Patricia and Laurence were equally awkward but in different ways. Laurence wanted nothing to do with going outdoors, preferring instead to tinker with technology. He even managed to create a simple two-second time machine, which is handier than … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Speculative Fiction | 7 Comments

A Long Way from Chicago and A Season of Gifts

I’m on record as believing that the Newbery committee has a thing for the Depression. I can name at least three or four books in the past decade or so set in the Depression that have won the Newbery medal. … Continue reading

Posted in Children's / YA Lit, Fiction, Historical Fiction | 6 Comments

The Wangs vs. the World

Charles Wang had the perfect American success story. He came to the U.S. from Taiwan, where his family had lived since evacuating China, and he turned his father’s small urea-manufacturing business into a major cosmetics empire. But that was before the 2008 … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction | 4 Comments


Stoner, by John Williams, was first published in 1965. It sold about 2000 copies, then went out of print. In the past few years, however, it has been republished to an almost cult-like following, first in Europe and then in … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Uncategorized | 8 Comments

White Noise

Something is wrong in a small college town in Middle America. There’s an unexpected sense of malaise, and the teachers and students at the local school are falling mysteriously ill: Investigators said it could be the ventilating system, the paint … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction | 13 Comments

The Haunting of Hill House

This book by Shirley Jackson might have had more of an impact on me if I weren’t already a fan of the 1963 film (soooo creepy!), but it’s still a good book, even if you know what chills are coming … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Fiction, Speculative Fiction | 13 Comments