Category Archives: erindowneyhowerton

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin by Erik Larson

While I am usually an ardent fan of Erik Larson’s nonfiction, this book is not my favorite. Not because the subject matter is not compelling, but because you know how the story will end. It’s like reading about the Titanic … Continue reading

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The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly

One of the most interesting species available for study is the tween. Although it is not as much fun to actually be this age, the lives of these creatures are nevertheless instructive. And so it goes for Calpurnia Tate, who … Continue reading

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The Panic Virus by Seth Mnookin

Mnookin’s The Panic Virus is an amazing investigation into the culture of vaccinations, and the deadly effects of those too selfish and shortsighted to see how their choices affect others. Stories of young infants too young to yet receive vaccinations … Continue reading

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A Lesson in Secrets by Jacqueline Winspear

I am very excited to finally see WWII on the horizon in this series. I describe it as a “slow burn” to prospective readers because I need them to understand that Maisie isn’t about action and adventure as much as … Continue reading

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Janis Joplin: Rise Up Singing by Ann Angel

Ann Angel’s entirely accessible and compelling biography of Janis Joplin is a marvel of a book and well deserving of the 2011 YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction. Joplin’s story is interwoven with period details about life and popular culture … Continue reading

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Heartland Woes, Heartland Opportunities

Three recent titles illuminate issues affecting Midwestern culture and small town life: Separately, these are all well-written and readable studies of Midwestern life. The authors have taken their time to interact and even live with their subjects, lending their portrayals … Continue reading

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Hors d’œuvres: short film delights from Canada

If you are a film buff, then you already know that the National Film Board of Canada is serious about producing quality culture. Thanks to the internet, you can now see some of their selections from the comfort of your … Continue reading

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More Niffenegger!

You might remember my appreciation for last year’s Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger. She has a graphic novel coming out this fall called The Night Bookmobile and I think it looks every bit as mysterious and wonderful as her … Continue reading

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Stieg Larsson & Scandinavian Mystery/Thriller Readalikes

Stieg Larsson’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo has been one of the most popular novels of recent years, and the furor has only continued with the release of the second novel in the series: The Girl Who Played with … Continue reading

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Boneshaker by Cherie Priest

Welcome to a crazy alternate-historical steampunk world, starring a plucky and determined mother/son pair who must use all their wits to escape from a Seattle that has been taken over by zombies. Priest does some great world-building that literally immerses … Continue reading

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