Seventh Heaven

Alice Hoffman | FictionWhat is this book about?  The reviews and the back cover imply that it is about Nora, a newly-divorced woman who moves into a rundown house with her two sons.  She is a major character, but it really isn’t all about her and the influence she has on her neighborhood.  Really, it…

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Life After Life

Kate Atkinson Fiction 2013 | 560 pages Ursula Todd is born in England on a very snowy evening, February 10, 1910. Except she is strangled by her umbilical cord and dies. Until the next time she is born. Kate Atkinson takes us on many journeys of parallel and alternate lives, as Ursula is born again…

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The Ranger

Beryl Rullman Fiction 1992 | 406 pages Some of you know this book, I am certain.  Others may wonder why I am reviewing a 30-year-old out-of-print book.  (And breaking all my rules by giving it eight hearts!) April 1, 2022 was the thirty-year anniversary of this murder mystery, written by my husband.  Though I spent…

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Bewilderment

Richard Powers Fiction 2021 | 278 pages I am shocked to discover that there exist people who did not like this book! I think it is nothing short of brilliant.  Theo Byrne is raising his neurodivergent, undiagnosed, nine-year-old son Robin, after his mother’s accidental death.  This, all alone, is the making of a challenging story.…

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The Every

Dave Eggers | Fiction, 2021 577 pages I think of satire as  funny.  And some reviewers found this book hilarious.  Longtime Dusty Shelves blog readers know that I am not particularly adept at finding humor in the written word.  And I found no humor at all in The Every.  I was, well, “terrified” is perhaps too…

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The Song of Achilles

Madeline Miller Fiction, 2012 |377 pages The Song of Achilles inspires me to wonder … “Why do I read fiction?”  At first blush: to learn something from a different perspective; to sink into characters and personalities that differ from my own; sometimes to activate my brain to solve a mystery; and finally, most important, to be…

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Girlhood

Melissa Febos Nonfiction Biography, 2021 | 320 pages I certainly have earned my wings as a Feminist.  About 50 years ago and ever since.  However, some of you might want to banish them (or me!) when you read this post. I struggled to finish this book (though I enjoyed her use of the language). I…

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As Long as Grass Grows

Dina Gilio-Whitaker Nonfiction, 2019 | 210 pages This is perhaps the most poorly written and boring book I have ever navigated.  She uses ridiculously obscure words when easy words would suffice.  Her sentences run on, with numerous clauses.  And there is very little feeling, virtually no emotional connection in her writing.  It is facts, pure…

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