Tag Archives: Deadly Choice

The Meaning of Night by Michael Cox

Synopsis: Robbed of his fortune by a rival from his school days, Edward Glyver seeks vengeance and restoration under an assumed name. Review: The Meaning of Night is a cunningly plotted piece of faux-Victoriana, conjuring up Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins with a soupcon of sex that doesn’t feel anachronistic at all. Edward Glyver’s nesting-doll tale gives every character a chance to tell his or her own life story, and Cox makes each one fascinating in its own right. Despite the near-constant digressions, Cox never…

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The Long Walk by Stephen King (Richard Bachman)

Synopsis: 100 young men begin a walk that will not end until there is only one survivor, who will win everything he wants for the rest of his life. Review: I’ve read The Long Walk a bunch of times. It’s one of the best of the books Stephen King wrote under the name of Richard Bachman, a short, tight novella that contains a universe of human drama. The other one worth reading is, of course The Running Man, made into that great rainy Saturday movie…

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East of Eden by John Steinbeck

Synopsis: The epic tale of Adam Trask, cuckolded husband to a whore and father of twin boys, one dark, one light. Review: I’m rather embarrassed to confess East of Eden is the first Steinbeck I have ever read. Big deal, you say–except I majored in American Studies in college with a focus on how literature and popular culture reveal sociological truths about the American people. I was obsessed with writers like Sinclair Lewis and Theodore Dreiser. I was enamored of post-Industrial Revolution American life. It…

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Unhooked by Laura Sessions Stepp

Synopsis: A dissection of hook-up culture on college campuses and in high schools, including anecdotal accounts. Review: More hand-wringing than Last Night in Paradise, less high-minded than Unprotected, Unhooked is more likely than either to provoke fear and consternation in the hearts of parents of teenagers across America–particularly if they’ve read I Am Charlotte Simmons and their daughter is looking at Duke University. Share on Facebook

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Tin Angel by Shannon Cowan

Synopsis: Accused of murdering her family’s benefactor, a teenage girl caught in the legal system explains what led to her arrest and indictment. Review: Author Shannon Cowan has done a remarkable job researching the Canadian legal system viz. young adults around the time that Tin Angel takes place (late 1960s). However, the emotional component of the story never quite came together for me. Share on Facebook

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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling

Synopsis: Harry Potter braces for his final battle with evil Lord Voldemort, knowing that only one of them will survive. Review: My biggest criticism of Harry Potter has always been his passivity. In the first few books especially, he spends most of his time being rescued or protected, simply because he’s “The Boy Who Lived.” And for awhile, it seemed as though JK Rowling wasn’t paying attention–was creating a hero who didn’t deserve to bear that name. Share on Facebook

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Emotional Reads

I like to be moved by literature, which is why I don’t go crazy for metafiction or postmodernism or overly intellectual fiction (Don DeLillo, Thomas Pyncheon, etc.). Such was the book I read yesterday for work. Otter asks, What are the five books in your library (or memory) that stirred the greatest emotive reaction in you? What I mean is, what five (or more) books most brought you close to tears, laughter, anger, whatever? Share on Facebook

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The House of Stairs by Barbara Vine

Synopsis: A woman haunted by the uncertain onset of a genetic disease sees a woman from her past, and struggles to fill in the gaps between truth and lies from a time in her life marked by violence and murder. Review: House of Stairs is yet another knockout from Barbara Vine, the British crime writer who pens the Inspector Wexford mysteries as Ruth Rendell. The tease here is that Vine isn’t going to reveal the identity of the murder victim until the final pages, and…

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