August 8, 2011

In The Color of Lightning, her powerful and moving third novel, Paulette Jiles begins with a real person and, taking the little that is known from the historical record, creates a life for him that illuminates a morally complex time and place in American history – from the last years of the Civil War to the early 1870s. These were the years when Texas was opening up its...

July 19, 2011

Schaffert’s fourth novel, The Coffins of Little Hope (Unbridled Books, 2011) is another triumph of storytelling, featuring quirky characters, humor, compassion, and insight into human strengths and foibles. The story revolves around its narrator, 83-year-old Essie Myles, who is the obituary writer for the County Paragraph, her grandson Doc’s small town Nebraska newspaper...

February 9, 2011

When I was in Australia a few years ago, a fellow librarian and good friend recommended Peter Temple’s The Broken Shore to me. I got a copy, read it there, and was blown away by just how good it was. At the time, though, it wasn’t published in the U.S. Now, however, it’s available here, and now, after a second reading, I can assure any reader on the hunt for a powerful a...

December 4, 2010

Tim Kreider’s We Learn Nothing: Essays and Cartoons (Free Press, 2012) is a remarkable collection. There were points in every one of them where I found myself nodding in agreement and wondering how he could so consistently express my feelings, and express them so much better than I ever could (or ever have). There are essays on how hard it is always to be appreciative of...

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