In my country, there is an old belief that if a bird flies into your home it is an angel who has come to guide you and you must look at its presence as a blessing from God. —House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III I’m not doing a full review of House […]

Georgia’s on my mind. We spent so much time in California, with 13 books read (!), that I knew I had to head somewhere completely different–and soon! So I decided to head to the Deep South. But what to do when I’ve already read most of the books that top everyone’s list for Georgia? Gone […]

This was an unexpected addition to my list, and it was a great one! I read this snippet from an interview with the author and just had to add it: One journalist kindly alerted me to the fact that there was a hoax in my Wikipedia entry, a claim that I was writing about “the […]

Like a River Glorious by Rae Carson (2016) is the second in the Gold Seer series, which began with Walk On Earth a Stranger. The first book sees the heroine and her childhood friend travel from Georgia along the Oregon Trail to California gold country in 1849, and although it was quite good and historically […]

California, here we come! My adopted home state. We’ve been here since 2011. The company my husband works for moved from Milwaukee to Los Angeles when its founder did, and we came too. When we found out about the move, we looked at each other and grimaced. Los Angeles? LA-LA land? But we love it! […]

The Meaning of Names by Karen Gettert Shoemaker (2014) was a nice little book, with a well-done historical setting. Stuart, Nebraska is along the northern border of the state, a bit east of center. At the time of the story, in 1918, it’s a rural farming community and small town with a rail line connecting […]

You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children. — Madeleine L’Engle Clare Vanderpool has this quote on her website, and I’d have to agree–sometimes books for young readers are incredible in their depth, perception, and bravery […]

Linda Furiya does a wonderful job of evoking place throughout her memoir Bento Box In the Heartland: My Japanese Girlhood in Whitebread America. Although I read it as part of my challenge travel through Indiana, it also has parts that take place in Japan and New York City, and, to a lesser degree, New Jersey […]

In terms of my challenge–to read 3-5 books set in each of the United States, with an emphasis on books where the setting becomes an integral part of the story–I have mixed feelings about Bento Box In the Heartland: My Japanese Girlhood in Whitebread America by Linda Furiya. The author grew up as the daughter […]

In the immortal words of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, “And now, for something completely different!” Indiana. The first things that come to my mind when I think of Indiana are the Indy 500 race, and the song “Gary, Indiana” from The Music Man. (Sorry! If it’s any consolation, it’s stuck in my head too, now.) […]