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Showing posts from September, 2015

Review: Prisoner of the Devil

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What if Sherlock Holmes was a part of something real, something historic? That's the question Michael Hardwick and Simon Haugh ask — and answer — about the great detective in Prisoner of the Devil, which is being re-released after three decades.

The prisoner of the tale is Alfred Dreyfus — of the historic Dreyfus Affair, perched on the cusp of the first World War — and the devil is the hellish island to which he was sent on the flimsiest of evidence. It's a worthy read for fans of Sherlock Holmes, and an interesting retelling of real-world history.

Prisoner of the Devil is a tale of French anti-Semitism involving Captain Alfred Dreyfus, a French military officer convicted of treason in 1895 by a secret tribunal. In the book, narrated by Dr. John Watson, Dreyfus' brother approaches Sherlock Holmes and implores the world's greatest detective to uncover the truth that will exonerate his brother.

The book was as much a world history lesson as a mystery, and a good one. Bri…

What I've Heard About Audiobooks

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When a friend told me she didn't like to read, I assured her that she just hadn't found the right book. When she did, it was the Shades of Gray series, and she couldn't read it fast enough (or often enough). She found The Book, so we figured her voracious reading habit would commence.

But that didn't happen.

Instead, her reading faltered. No other book captured her attention. The page was cold and lifeless. Books were stilted and boring. At first, she thought she just read too slow. Rich detail was lost in the words. She read for school and retained the information, but the pages for leisure reading never came alive for her like they did for me.

Last summer, when she and her son were planning a long drive, she asked me for recommendations for books she could borrow on audio. I threw a few titles there, as did her son. In the end, they settled on The Help.

She found herself smitten again, and her son enjoyed the book as well. In fact, they were so wrapped up in the book…

Review: Everything I Never Told You

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Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng is a quiet story, told in wisps, like smoke that too late reveals the raging inferno behind the closed door.

No one is quieter than Hannah, a member of the Lee family, each member of which is filled with unspoken words, unfulfilled dreams and unrequited longing.  Hannah may be the first witness revealed to readers, but this masterfully written story doesn't hinge on a single witness. Instead, Ng weaves effortlessly between each of the Lees, who, in turn and all at once, reveal nothing and everything, too often with a brief glance or deafening silence.

One morning, 16-year-old Lydia doesn't come down to breakfast. The only clue to Lydia's whereabouts lies with Hannah, who (like everything else) she keeps to herself. It takes a few days, but the Lees get their answer — and it changes their lives forever.

The story is told in fluid time: past mixes with present, smoothly transitioning between them, and allusions to the future are few …

Down to the Wire, Up to Our Hips — in Books!

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We're getting down to the wire here at the Summer Reading Club headquarters: the end is near! Well, the end of summer reading is approaching. (For this club, it's the Sunday of or after the autumnal equinox. This year, that's September 27, the first day of Fall for the Book!)

How are you doing with your reading? Have you deviated from your list, attracted by shiny new (or new to you) books? Or are you focused on what you want to read, book reviews be damned?

I'm cheating on my original book list. (As usual.)

I like the idea of a guideline, but I also like to deviate from my pre-approved script of reading when I read about a "great new book" from Book Riot, stumble across a great book in the library or one of my reading cohorts lets me know what's on their nightstand or Audible list.

Since Memorial Day, I've consumed about 3o books, and I have bookmarks in a few others.

Here are the books currently on my nightstand:
The MonkPrisoner of the DevilThe Dalai Lam…