Edmondson, Elizabeth. Finding Philippe.

London: Hodder & Stoughton, 2001.

This late author produced a series of very enjoyable romance-mystery-thriller novels, all set in the immediate post-World War II period in Britain — though it somewhat pains me to think of a story set in my own lifetime as “historical fiction” — and this was one of the few I hadn’t previously read.


LaCour, Nina. Hold Still.

NY: Dutton, 2009.

As I’ve said before, I’ve developed a very high regard for this author, who writes novels branded as “Young Adult,” but which are filled with very adult insights, beautifully realized. This one is about sixteen-year-old Caitlin who, a few weeks before the end of her sophomore year, is informed one morning that her best friend, Ingrid, has killed herself the night before by cutting her wrists.


Published in: on 28 October 2018 at 2:03 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Feiffer, Jules. Kill My Mother: A Graphic Novel.

NY: Liveright, 2014.

Feiffer is an amazing cartoonist with amazing longevity. He started drawing for publication shortly after World War II, became Will Eisner’s assistant at the age of seventeen, and his work was showing up in New Yorker, Esquire, and Playboy while Eisenhower was still in the White House. He won every artistic award there is, including an Academy Award, and then branched out into novels, stage plays, and screenplays.


Shusterman, Neal. Thunderhead.

NY: Simon & Shuster, 2018.

Scythe, the first volume of this new series, was pretty good. It was highly original in its ideas and worldbuilding, it was believable within its own posited future — in which effective immortality requires an artificial population balance in the form of a corps of almost completely above-the-law dealers of death — and it described the interactions among a small group of fascinating characters in vivid action scenes.


Published in: on 22 October 2018 at 6:45 am  Leave a Comment  
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LaCour, Nina. Everything Leads to You.

NY: Dutton, 2014.

LaCour is one of the most highly-regarded “serious” writers of Young Adult novels working today, and this is one of her best. Yes, it’s a very romantic love story, but it’s also much more. Emi Price is only just finishing high school in Los Angeles but she’s already a set-design intern for a movie studio. Even without the proper training (which she expects to get at UCLA next year), she’s a natural, almost a visionary genius.


Fitzgerald, Meags. Photobooth: A Biography.

Greenwich, NS: Conundrum Press, 2014.

I’m old enough to remember when nearly every dime store, bus station, and amusement park had a coin-operated photobooth. Close the curtain, take a seat, feed in a couple of quarters, and smile — or, more likely, if you were a teenager, make faces. And out would come a strip of six black-and-white wallet-size portraits. Because the image was printed directly to paper and there was no negative, each shot was unique and non-repeatable — a tiny time capsule of a single moment in your life.


Published in: on 15 October 2018 at 5:28 am  Leave a Comment  

Wells, Martha. Artificial Condition.

NY: Macmillan/Tom Doherty, 2018.

I got hooked on All Systems Red, the first volume of the “Murderbot Diaries,” and I’ve been looking forward to this one, but it’s somehow less satisfying than I had expected. Perhaps it’s because we already know a lot about the protagonist now, and the strange circumstances that govern his life, but this second adventure just doesn’t seem to have quite the same kick.


Miller, Madeline. Circe.

NY: Little, Brown, 2018.

I’m pretty demanding when it comes to historical fiction, and I read a lot of it, but I was pretty much blown away by Miller’s first novel, The Song of Achilles. And now she’s done it again. Both books are now in my “Top Ten Historicals” list. This one is somewhat different from the first book, too, in that the protagonist (and most of the other characters, for that matter) isn’t even mortal. She’s Circe (“Hawk”), daughter of Helios, the Titan sun god, and a nymph, and she doesn’t have much power compared to the arrogant Olympians, but she knows how to use what she’s got.


Mack, Stan. Taxes, the Tea Party, and Those Revolting Rebels: A History in Comics of the American Revolution.

NY: NBM Publishing, 1994.

I can’t help it, I’m always a little suspicious of books that attempt to impart serious nonfictional material to younger readers in a “cartoon” format. It’s so easy to talk down and to err on the side of froth.


Published in: on 6 October 2018 at 7:13 am  Leave a Comment  
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Shusterman, Neal. Scythe.

NY: Simon & Schuster, 2016.

This is one of the more innovative and original SF novels I’ve read recently. I thought, from the jacket copy, that it would be fantasy, but it’s actually pretty “hard” science fiction, set maybe three centuries in our future. It seems that in 2040, the “cloud” of data — the Internet and everything else — reaches the tipping point and becomes sentient, and that’s the end of the old random world. Because humans are now virtually immortal, you can be revived from almost any sort of death, short of complete destruction of the body by fire.