I had a really hard time getting into this book, and I’m not sure if it had more to do with my current state of mind (extreme stress and borderline depression #2020sucks) or with the long, rambling sentences which alternate between extreme highbrow and earthy lowbrow (perhaps in imitation of the young adults who are […]

Well, this one certainly won’t qualify for Book Riot’s Read Harder 2020 task about a murder mystery with no women victims! And it was a bit of a difficult read because of that–there are a number of reviews on Goodreads complaining about the level of violence in the book. For a reading challenge about setting, […]

Wow! If you want a good look at race relations in the 1930s, this is your book. It takes place in the Sabine River bottoms–which occupy several hundred miles along the border between Louisiana and Texas, south of Shreveport to just north of the Gulf of Mexico. Somewhere I read that the Sabine also marks […]

I’ve never been a fan of horror. But I have enjoyed several of Stephen King’s forays outside the genre. This is one I’ll add to that list. King says he got the idea and started writing it in the early days of his career but quickly realized he didn’t have the time or the skills […]

I’m not sure what happened with this one. It was a great one for setting–Frazier gives us some fabulous descriptions of North Carolina. And it’s not just the area around Cold Mountain itself–Inman walks away from the hospital where he is recovering, across much of the state. But I lost interest in the story pretty […]

This was an accidental choice, but it’s turned out to be a fairly happy accident. Which is a bit of a coincidence, as the book was accidentally announced as a finalist for the 2011 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. Despite the error having been made internally, Myracle had to withdraw from the contest. […]

Idaho has been full of odd contrasts. Ruth Ozeki’s All Over Creation was preachy and full of shallow stereotypes of Idaho and its people. Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson was a depressing, maddening, but lovely bit of prose that (hopefully) is not terribly revealing about the people of Idaho while being full of gorgeous descriptions of […]

I can see why this book won the 1963 National Book Award, and why it’s considered a classic for the disillusioned working class–think inept colleagues, vindictive superiors, and fruitless and boring busywork with Father Urban as a successful, charming, handsome traveling salesman. It is a slow build to its comic climax, and it is more […]

Between, Georgia has the most Southern stereotypes of any of the Georgia books we’ve read so far. It is also the only Southern Gothic book we’ve read so far. (Though A Cry of Angels by Jeff Fields fits that category as well.) I am reading my way across the USA–5 or so books set in each […]

Wow! Haven’s Wake by Ladette Randolph (2013) was phenomenal for my reading challenge. I’m reading my way across the USA, focusing on books with a strong sense of place that help me “get to know” each state–the landscape, the people, the culture, the history. Haven’s Wake was a perfect choice for Nebraska. That year the […]