Category Archives: Fiction


I read Emma for the first time about 20 years ago. I liked it very much, but it didn’t become a favorite. In fact, it took me 20 years to get around to it again, and I only returned to it … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Fiction | 9 Comments

The Long Winter

When I looked over the Shelf Love archive, it surprised me to see that I have never reviewed one of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s novels. Teresa and I reviewed Pioneer Girl, her (heavily annotated) autobiography, and I reviewed The Wilder Life, … Continue reading

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

We Live in Water

In 2013, I read Jess Walter’s The Financial Lives of the Poets, a novel about a middle-class man in free-fall. That novel was satirical and insightful and interesting, it made me laugh and it made me think, but somehow I … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Short Stories/Essays | 12 Comments

The Sandman: Overture

Years ago, my husband made a ceremony of giving me each of the oversize, deluxe editions of the Sandman comics for Christmas, one year after another. I’d spend Christmas afternoon lost in them, absorbed, with an incongruous background of choristers … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Graphic Novels / Comics, Speculative Fiction | 4 Comments

Another Brooklyn

August, the narrator of Jacqueline Woodson’s new novel grew up in Brooklyn in the 1970s. Her father brought her and her brother there from Tennessee, leaving their mother as a memory whose coming August hoped for every day. Initially, they … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction | 8 Comments


Jo Walton’s The Just City was one of my favorite books of last year. The sequel, The Philosopher Kings, was not quite as good, but it was interesting enough, and its game-changing ending left me curious about this, the final book in … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Speculative Fiction | 4 Comments

The Underground Railroad

For an embarrassingly long time, I thought the Underground Railroad was an actual railroad, at least partly underground. A secret train to freedom is an image than can easily catch a child’s imagination—especially when that child hasn’t been around trains … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Historical Fiction, Speculative Fiction | 19 Comments


Austerlitz is the second novel I’ve read by W. G. Sebald. Like The Emigrants, it’s difficult to write about, partly because the genre is difficult to pin down. Is it documentary or fiction? Is it about architecture or is it … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

The Brandons

This is the sixth of Angela Thirkell’s Barsetshire books, and it is just possible that it’s the most charming one yet. The novel centers around the unbelievably alluring (if rather scatterbrained) Mrs. Brandon and her two sensible children, Francis and … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Fiction | 14 Comments

Always a Body to Trade

It was very interesting to read K.C. Constantine’s sixth installment of the Mario Balzic series of mysteries, Always a Body to Trade. It was written in 1983 — more than 30 years ag0 — and it takes place in Rocksburg, … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Mysteries, Uncategorized | 3 Comments