Tag Archives: favorites

Book Review: The Manual of Detection by Jedediah Berry

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The Manual of Detection by Jedediah Berry Recommended Ages: 13+ Fantasy and hardboiled detective fiction have met before this novel—I cannot restrain myself from name-dropping The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon—but I don’t think any mash-up of the two has ever been quite like this book, its author’s first novel. It takes place in an unnamed, rainy city where the boundary between dreams and reality have become blurred. Here the forces of order are ... Read More »

Movie Review: ‘The Great Gatsby’ Blu-Ray/DVD Combo Pack

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The Great Gatsby Book by F. Scott Fitzgerald Film by Baz Luhrmann Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey McGuire, Carey Mulligan, & Joel Edgerton Rated: PG-13 English was (almost) always my favorite subject when I was in high school. I truly loved the fact that every other week I was specifically told to transport myself into, to get fully enveloped by, to really experience, a world outside of my own.See, my high school world was that of ... Read More »

Review: The Ropemaker by Peter Dickinson

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The Ropemaker by Peter Dickinson Recommended Ages: 13+ A few pages into this book by the author of The Tears of the Salamander, I decided that Peter Dickinson is probably the best writer living today. Given that I have only read these two of his fifty-odd books, that may come across as a hasty judgment. But I haven’t forgotten that Tears was the best book I read in 2005, and I don’t plan to forget ... Read More »

Review: Little People by Tom Holt

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Little People—buy it by Tom Holt—his website Recommended Ages: 14+ At age eight, Mike Higgins was playing Captain Kirk in his backyard when he spotted a tiny, green-skinned man with pointy ears, leaning against a head of lettuce and smoking a hand-rolled cigarette. “‘Mummy, mummy,’ I yelled out as I ran back into the house. Guess what! There are Vulcans at the bottom of our garden!’” Being the boy who saw an elf shapes the ... Read More »

Book Review: The Scarecrow and His Servant by Philip Pullman

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The Scarecrow and His Servant—buy it by Philip Pullman—his website Recommended Age: 10+ This book by the author of The Firework-Maker’s Daughter and The Ruby in the Smoke combines a fairy-tale concept with elements of the picaresque novel. That is to say, it presents a hero from humble origins, making his way through a corrupt world in a series of funny, ironic adventures. Seemingly set in Italy around the time of the Napoleonic wars, this ... Read More »

Book Review: The Ogre Downstairs by Diana Wynne Jones

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The Ogre Downstairs—buy it by Diana Wynne Jones—her website Recommended Age: 10+ This is a delightful tale, full of charm and laugh-out-loud humor. Plus, the theme of a “blended family” resonates with the personal experience of many of us. The Brants and the McIntyres are living under one very British roof, since Mrs. Brant (a widow) married Mr. McIntyre (a divorced, single Dad). But after only a couple months, things aren’t going too smoothly. Sally, ... Read More »

Book Review: So You Want to Be a Wizard by Diane Duane

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So You Want to Be a Wizard—buy it by Diane Duane—her website Recommended Age: 12+ This 1983 book is the first of nine books in the Young Wizards series, which in many ways should be right up your alley (if you like Harry Potter, that is). The author is a prolific science fiction writer who has contributed a number of books to the growing list of Star Trek titles, as well as the Net Force ... Read More »

Book Review: The Cockatrice Boys by Joan Aiken

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The Cockatrice Boys—buy it by Joan Aiken—her website Recommended Age: 12+ From the Wolves series, featuring Dido Twite, I had already come to regard Joan Aiken as a wonderful writer with a flair for colloquial British speech, humor, adventure, and the clash of titanic forces of good and evil. From Diana Wynne Jones’ Deep Secret I had come to regard the Starscape label as being possibly the best-kept secret in young-adult fiction. Both of these ... Read More »

Book Review: Perloo the Bold by Avi

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Perloo the Bold—buy it by Avi—his website Recommended Age: 12+ The author of Tales from Dimwood Forest brings us this intriguing fantasy novel for the young. Two tribes have been at war, on and off, as far back as history remembers: the rabbit-like Montmers and the coyote-like Felbarts. Among the few Montmers who know anything about this history, is bookish, shy Perloo. But when the old Granter of the Montmers is on her deathbed, she ... Read More »

Book Review: The Face in the Frost by John Bellairs

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The Face in the Frost—buy it by John Bellairs Recommended Ages: 12+ John Bellairs (1938-91) specialized in writing spooky tales of the mysterious and macabre for younger readers. One of the most mysterious and macabre things about him is the fact that he went on writing them after his death. It turns out that four of his books were completed by Brad Strickland based on sketches left unrealized at the author’s death; Strickland then went ... Read More »