Lissa Evans’s dark comedy Crooked Heart (2015 HarperCollins) made me think of Helen DeWitt’s The Last Samurai, a 2000 novel that doesn’t get nearly the hype it should. While Evans’s novel is considerably shorter, there are striking similarities in the dark humor and in their young protagonists.  Ten-year old Noel Bostock is being raised byContinue reading “CROOKED HEART – Lissa Evans”

SALT TO THE SEA – Ruta Sepetys

Ruta Sepetys’s Salt to the Sea (Penguin Books 2016) was a bit of a surprise.  It’s been hanging out on my TBR for several years now, but I didn’t much know what to expect when I finally picked it up.  As I’ve never read Sepetys before, I’m not sure if the snapshot-style alternating narration isContinue reading “SALT TO THE SEA – Ruta Sepetys”


In 1942, a prominent Polish Jewish children’s author, Janusz Korczak or Pan Doktor,staged a performance of Rabindranath Tagore’s play The Post Office. The Indian play is about a very sick boy who will die.  Korczak, consistently refusing sanctuary and insisting he stay with the nearly 200 orphans in his care, wanted to prepare the childrenContinue reading “A PLAY FOR THE END OF THE WORLD – Jai Chakrabarti”

GLAMOUR GIRLS – Marty Wingate

My “women at war” reading list has continued into 2021, finding me in England during WWII with Marty Wingate’s Glamour Girls (January 12, 2021, Alcove Press).  Wingate, a cozy mystery writer, slid quite easily into the historical genre, and Glamour Girls is a quick and easy read with much of the violence of war (andContinue reading “GLAMOUR GIRLS – Marty Wingate”

The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

“First the colors.Then the humans.That’s usually how I see things.Or at least, how I try.*** HERE IS A SMALL FACT***           You are going to die.” And so Markus Zusak’s novel, The Book Thief, begins.  Told from Death’s point of view, The Book Thief, is the story of Liesel Meminger and her encounters with Death inContinue reading “The Book Thief – Markus Zusak”