Review of The Small Book by Zina Rohan

The Small Book opens in 1915 with a doctor’s diary entry from the frontlines of the World War I describing the execution of a private for desertion. “This has been a wretched business. They have made a murderer out of me and all of us who were present.” While the book quickly jumps to 1946 and later to 1998, the repercussions continue throughout from this soldier’s death at the hands of his own side.

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Summer Reading: A Review of The Taint of Midas by Anne Zouroudi

Crystal blue sea, hot sand, sleepy villages with garrulous old men drinking ouzo in outside cafés, badly built tourist hotels and other monstrosities of modern development, corrupt police, and ancient Greek myths that don’t seem to want to go away—Zouroudi certainly knows Greece and creates a lovingly detailed portrait as she slowly unrolls her murder mystery. In a world of frenetically-paced thrillers, Taint of Midas has the cadences of a lazy afternoon nap in a hammock—just the thing if you’re suffering from an overdose of busy life.

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Sophie Littlefield and Juliet Blackwell: Two sassy, fun reads

Sophie Littlefield’s A Bad Day for Sorry is sassy, hilarious and chilling. Her “sleuth” is Stella Hardesty—how did Sophie phrase it, a self-help widow? In Secondhand Spirits, Juliet Blackwell’s sleuth has just opened a vintage clothing store in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco, and she’s a witch.

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Review of Caleb’s Crossing by Geraldine Brooks

The Caleb of the title of Geraldine Brook’s latest novel is the first Native American to graduate from Harvard College, a feat he accomplished in 1665.Brooks cleverly narrates the novel through the eyes of a young Colonial woman, Bethia Mayfield. For Brook’s ability to allow us to live within a Puritan woman’s mind and peer into the complex issues arising from the clash of Native American and Colonial world views, Caleb’s Crossing is definitely worth reading.

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Review of Big Wheat by Richard Thompson

The Great Plains during the post World War I boom years of “big wheat” provide an unusual setting for a mystery. The charm of this book is as much in its intricate descriptions of the steam driven machinery that made the big harvests possible as in the story, although the story became increasingly compelling as I read. For a vivid portrayal of farm life at the beginning of the twentieth century and for an even more vivid picture of life on the fringes of this most iconic of American lifestyles, read Big Wheat

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