A Dark-Adapted Eye by Barbara Vine

Synopsis: When a true-crime writer comes to Faith Severn asking for corroboration of the details he’s unearthed about her murderess aunt, Faith’s reminiscences build a very different portrait of the family that has been both dear and alien to her over the years, casting new light on very old secrets. Review: I have read several books by Barbara Vine and her alter ego Ruth Rendell, and this is by far my favorite. She excels at characterization; none of her creations can be neatly encapsulated by…

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Carsickness

I finished a book on the subway this morning for my reading job. The only place in the world I can’t read is in the car. Train–fine. Subway–fine. Plane, bus, boat–no problem. But if I’m in the car and I spend more than 10 minutes looking at any kind of words, even on a map, I’m down for the count. When I was a kid, I figured out that I wouldn’t get sick as long as I couldn’t see out the window, so I would…

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I’ll Take You There by Joyce Carol Oates

Synopsis: A troubled, introspective young woman in college in the early 60s falls out of favor with her sorority sisters and into a troubled relationship with a black PhD candidate in philosophy. Review: Very typical Oates–claustrophobic first-person narrative from the POV of a woman with serious issues. The story is laced with philosophical arguments that are way less interesting than the arcana of sorority life. Once Anellia leaves the Kappa house, the book loses contact with the larger world, narrowing in on Anellia and Vernor’s…

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Traumatized by Johanna Spyri’s Heidi

Read a novel tonight for work–literary fiction. Gorgeous prose, interesting ideas. But not bloggable because it’s work, so you get a glimpse into the twisted past of the Superfast Reader, and link to the next book on my shelf. I feel like all my childhood memories are from when I was eight, except for when I knocked my tooth out when I was seven. But I am fairly certain that an incident involving Johanna Spyri’s book Heidi happened when I was a buck-toothed, thick glasses-wearing,…

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Firestarter by Stephen King

Synopsis: A little girl with the psychic power to start fires is on the run with her father, fleeing an NSA-type government agency wanting to capture her, experiment on her, and kill her. Review: This is not the first time I’ve read this book; that would have been freshman year in college, when I discovered King and blew through him during the boring days before I made friends. I love to reread books, and King is particularly suited for that. I think it’s because of…

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Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller

Synopsis: An autobiographical collection of irreverant essays about finding Jesus in the most unlikely places, starting with super-pagan Reed College in Portland, Oregon. Review: I kept hearing about this book from various people whose opinion I respected, but I was a little skeptical. I am weary of efforts to make Christianity “cool” or “relevant” or “postmodern” or whatever, and I had a preconception that this book fell into that category. Share on Facebook

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How to Skim–and Why

I have a fun little job where I get to read books before they are published. I won’t be blogging about them for various ethical reasons, but since I want to post every time I read a book, I think I’ll take the opportunity to write about reading. In these posts, I’ll also be listing the books on my bookshelf one at a time in the order they appear. I get asked a lot about my speed-reading. The most frequest question is, “Do you really…

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Bridge of D’Arnath Series by Carol Berg

Synopsis: In a world where magic has been forbidden, an evil rises and threatens total destruction unless one young man can step into his destiny and choose the right path. Review: I hated to do this, but I stopped reading somewhere around page 300 of the third book of this 4-part series. I came to the realization that I would rather be reading anything else but this book, and given that I have a sizable stack on my bedside table, I decided to cut my…

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