Jamieson, Victoria. Roller Girl.

NY: Dial, 2015.

Astrid isn’t your ordinary twelve-year-old, interested in dance classes like her best friend, Nicole — or even in boys, much. She wears a lot of black, reads astronomy books, and suffers through her mother’s “cultural enlightenment evenings.” This time, though, the ECE means tickets to Portland’s local female roller derby, and Astrid is instantly mesmerized.

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Lee, Sharon & Steve Miller. Alliance of Equals.

NY: Baen, 2016.

I discovered the multidimensional Liaden universe more than twenty years ago, of which this volume is (I think) the nineteenth adventure. I’ve read the first dozen or more twice — once as they were published, and again by order of internal chronology (though it isn’t actually that simple). In fact, the action this time takes place at more or less the same time as the story in Dragon Ship and Dragon in Exile (and, apparently, according to the endnotes, in the next volume to come).

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Heinlein, Robert. A. The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress.

NY: Putnam, 1966.

From the late 1950s on, I always read Heinlein’s newest book within months of its publication, and this one was no exception. It got me to thinking for some time afterwards about political systems in general and the requirements of a revolution. And boy, does he have a lot to say.

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Edmondson, Elizabeth. The Frozen Lake.

NY: HarperCollins, 2004.

I recently read this author’s A Man of Some Repute and its two sequels, murder mysteries set in Britain in the early 1950s, and found them very entertaining. (She calls them her “Vintage Mystery” series.) This one takes place in the Midlands in 1936, on the eve of the Second World War —

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Pelecanos, George. A Firing Offense.

NY: Little, Brown, 1992.

Pelecanos is considered one of the top crime writers in English these days, and this unsettling story is where he started. Thirty-year-old Nick Stefanos, a Washington, D.C., native, is a natural salesman. Not the best — that would be his friend, Johnny McGinnis — but still very good, and by the late 1980s he’s worked his way up to Advertising Director of the Nutty Nathan’s retail electronics empire.

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Published in: on 17 November 2016 at 5:33 am  Leave a Comment  
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Telgemeier, Raina. Sisters.

NY: Scholastic Books, 2014.

I’ve really gotten into graphic novels the past decade or so, but I hardly ever do superheroes. I wasn’t really into Marvel comics even in the ’70s. I prefer “real” stories. This author does autobiography and the award-winning Smile was a terrific book, so I grabbed this one as soon as I saw it.

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Kakazawa, Keiji. Barefoot Gen: A Cartoon Story of Hiroshima.

Philadelphia: New Society Publishers, 1987.

There are a handful of key books that combined cartoon-style art and text narrative to create the modern graphic novel. This is one of them. The author was a seven-year-old resident of Hiroshima when the bomb was dropped in August 1945

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Bunch, Chris. Knighthood of the Dragon.

London: Orbit Books, 2003

This is the middle volume of the “Dragonmaster” trilogy and the pace of the action, which opens only a few weeks after the climax of the first volume, never lets up for a minute. Hal Kailas, now Lord Kailas of Kalabas, Hero of Deraine, Defender of the Throne, is in charge of what constitutes Deraine’s air force in its long war with neighboring Roche.

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Published in: on 9 November 2016 at 3:19 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Anderson, Poul. The High Crusade.

NY: Doubleday, 1960.

The “Golden Age” of science fiction ended in the late 1940s, just as I was learning to walk, but I was certainly aware of the great days of Astounding and Analog, a short while later, when John Campbell was publishing some of the best SF ever from some of its greatest authors. Poul (a Grand Master) was one of those, with a long series of very popular, and often award-winning, novels. And this was one of the best of them.

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Published in: on 7 November 2016 at 5:28 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Pelecanos, George. Right as Rain.

NY: Little, Brown, 2001.

This is the first volume in what became known as the “D.C. Quartet,” widely considered this author’s best work to date. The two protagonists, who share certain experiences but have far more, and deeper, differences, are Derek Strange, a black ex-cop and private investigator in his fifties with a quarter-century of practical experience on the street, and Terry Quinn, a white guy in his late twenties recently departed from the Metro police under a cloud who is marking time in his life by working in a quiet used bookstore.

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