Soul – Tobsha Learner

At the close of the 20th century, Julia Huntington is searching for the genetic basis of serenity – more precisely, why some soldiers suffer post-traumatic stress and some don’t. In the 19th century, her ancestor is struggling to find purpose in her life. Both face difficulties in their marriages, and find solace in other men. I downloaded this free from Tor some years back. I was under the strong impression that it was SFF. I…

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Greyfriars Bobby – Eleanor Atkinson

When a Skye terrier’s companion dies, he sleeps on the grave, and is cared for by a mixed group of friends for the rest of his life. I first read this book as a child. I remember it as being moving, if on the sappy side. That’s true, but the book also has flaws I didn’t remember at all. The language is stilted and overwrought. That’s especially evident in the slow, slow start, which seems…

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Three Men in a Boat – Jerome K. Jerome

Three Men #1 Three men and a dog take a boat vacation on England’s waterways, with amusing results. I’ve always confused Jerome K. Jerome’s Three Men in a Boat with the nursery rhyme “rub a dub dub, three men in a tub”. Knowing little of either, it took me years to realize they were different things. I thought I should make the effort to actually read the novel, once I realized there was one. The…

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Warp – Lev Grossman

A young man wanders around Boston over the course of a day and a half, worrying vaguely about an ex-girlfriend. I’ve been hearing about Lev Grossman’s The Magicians, but it didn’t hold much appeal for me. When I saw this book available and listed as a prequel (it doesn’t seem to be), I thought I’d give it a shot. The book is easily summed up – it’s a sequel to Catcher in the Rye, with…

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The Red House Mystery – A. A. Milne

A dilettante visiting his friend happens on a murder mystery. A. A. Milne is chiefly known for his Winnie the Pooh stories, and his collections of nursery rhymes, When We Were Very Young, and Now We Are Six, all of which overshadowed his more serious plays and novels. One of those novels was a mystery. Wikipedia tells me that The Red House Mystery was both popular and critically acclaimed. I’m not sure why. It’s a…

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Blue Moon Over Thurman Street – Ursula K. Le Guin & Roger Dorband

A book of photographs and poems capturing Portland’s NW Thurman Street in the 1980s. Lots of neighbourhoods have books; my little coastal village has one. They’re collections of photos or sketches of houses and locales, accompanied by brief paragraphs of local history, favorite recipes, awkward poems. They’re interesting mainly to the people who grew up in or move into those neighbourhoods, who can see what it used to be like, or complain about how it’s…

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