Fantasy, Historical, Juvenile Fiction, Mystery, Short Stories

The Arabs in the Golden Age by Mokhtar Moktefi and Veronique Ageorges

This book describes the Arab civilization during their golden age during the 600’s-1100’s AD.


Other books:
Improve Your Survival Skills- Usborne (non-fiction)

With Two Hands- Rebecca Davis
Mary Slessor- Janet and Geoff Benge

Donald J. Sobol Encyclopedia Brown series (a favorite):
Finds the Clues
Case of the Two Spies
Case of Pablo’s Nose
Case of the Treasure Hunt
Case of the Secret Pitch
Solves Them All
Cracks the Case
Saves the Day
Tracks them Down
Case of the Disgusting Sneakers
Boy Detective
Case of the Sleeping Dog

John D. Fitzgerald Great Brain series:
The Great Brain
More Adventures of the Great Brain
Me and My Little Brain
The Great Brain at the Academy

Gertrude Chandler Warner Boxcar series:
Boxcar Children
Mystery of the Spider’s Clue
Surprise Island
Also: The Boxcar Children Beginning by Patricia MacLachlan

Other random fiction books:
Wild Man Island by Will Hobbs
The Scorch Trials by James Dashner
The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pene d Bois
Stuart Little by E.B. White
Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
The Story of Doctor Doolittle by Hugh Lofting
Animal Inn by Paul Dubois Jacobs and Jennifer Swender
Belle Prater’s Boy by Ruth White
Beat the Story Drum, Pum-Pum by Ashley Bryan
A Girl Named Disaster by Nancy Farmer
King of the Wind by Marquerite Henry
Seven Daughters and Seven Sons by Barbara Cohen and Bahija Lovejoy

Short Stories

The Balcony by Jane Delury

This novel really comprises a series of short stories with overlapping characters. The pivot point is an old manor house in the country and the various people who inhabit it off and on for more than a century. So, for example, the child Alexis in one story reappears as the young man Alexis in another. And then Alexis’ children appear in yet another chapter. The book really should be titled “Le Balcon,” since it’s very French, and here and there French phrases are used (though always understandable in the context). I’m not sure quite why, but I rather liked this book. I’m grateful the Reading Revels program has reintroduced me to the short story format, which makes a reader really have to think about “what just happened.”



Fantasy, Historical, LGBTQ, Short Stories, Young Adult

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black…and more from Naomi!

Tana wakes up the morning after a big party in the bathtub hungover. But when she leaves the bathroom she discovers she is the best off, because everyone else at the party is dead, drained by vampires. Trying to leave Tana finds her ex-boyfriend and a vampire chained up in the spare bedroom. She makes a plan to get them all out. But Aiden, her ex, is infected and she might be as well. They head toward Coldtown, the place where vampires and the living infected are quarantined. The vampire Gavriel is not entirely sane but he helps as he can and Tana finds herself liking him more and more. He wants to go to Coldtown to kill a vampire he once knew. As Tana gets caught up in one mess after another she learns a lot about her own strength and never lets go of the will to stay human, no matter what it takes.

Prometheus Bound by Aeschylus, translated by Rex Warner

In this Greek play Prometheus has just given all of his gifts to mortals, the most well-known of which being fire. He is chained to a rock and talks about what happened and what will happen (since his name means foresight) to his friend, the old god of the sea Okeanos and Okeanos’ flock of daughters (the chorus.) Then Io comes through. Zeus forced himself on her and then he turned her into a cow and sent a gadfly to sting her and keep her moving from place to place. Prometheus tells her about her future before she is driven off. Then Hermes arrives with a message from Zeus demanding to know how he knows this stuff or they will increase his torment. Prometheus refuses. And the play ends in thunder.
It was a great translation. I enjoyed it a lot, I actually had the chance to read a large part of it out loud which helped. Great historical play.

Fool Moon by Jim Butcher

This is the second book in the Dresden Files. Harry Dresden has to deal with werewolves, multiple different kinds of Werewolves in fact. There’s some fallout from the first book as well with Internal Investigations looking into Murphy. When the evidence piles up against Harry he has to flee police custody, because even though it makes him look more guilty, he may be the only one who can keep the murders from escalating.
I read the first one about a year ago. They are good, a little formulaic but one that works. When I was looking for Horror books in the online library and the Dresden Files was one of the top entries I picked it up gladly.

Grave Peril by Jim Butcher

Dresden has to deal with ghosts. Something is stirring up a lot of them. On top of this there’s a girl who can see the future who comes to him for help and his friend Michael, who is a paladin, is on Harry to tell Susan that he loves her. When Harry manages to lose Michael’s super powerful sword to his Fae Godmother (Who wants to turn Harry into one of her hellhounds) they have to get it back. Also an old vampire enemy of his has invited him to a party, and he decides to go since that’s where he thinks he can find all his answers.
These are like the wafer cookies of books. I enjoy them, they’re the same every time, there isn’t a huge amount of substance to them, and yet you can’t stop with one.

Montmorency by Eleanor Updale

Once a thief, Montmorency was badly injured. A doctor goes to great lengths to save him as a medical experiment. Finding himself in posh company, to be ogled at and shown off, Montmorency begins to learn. When he gets out he doesn’t plan to stay in the gutters long. Although the sewers are a different matter. Posing as both a rich gentleman and his own servant he uses the new sewer system to steal from the rich and get away unseen. But the more time he spends pretending to be a gentleman the less it feels like an act…
I enjoy books where the main character is actually clever. And the character growth is great!



Horror, Short Stories

America’s Fantastic Tales: Poe to the Pulps by Peter Straub, editor

Published by The Library of America, “American Fantastic Tales” appears as a (truly) cloth-covered hardback, with a ribbon bookmark sewn into the signatures, and clear, readable type on cream-colored pages. Ahhh… And the stories collected by Peter Straub are also very nice. What I particularly liked about this assortment is that it included quite a few tales by women authors. I had heard of some writers, such as Edith Wharton and Willa Cather. And I’d read Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wall Paper,” which remains horrifying (think “Gaslight” without the happy ending). So I enjoyed reading all of the stories by the women authors, and quite a few by the men. The book reminded me that I’ve always wanted to visit H. P. Lovecraft’s Miskatonic University in Arkham, New England!


Horror, Short Stories

Ghostly by Audrey Niffenegger

This collection of short ghost stories by a range of authors includes a handful of duds — ghost stories aren’t supposed to be cute, in my view, and it’s cheating when one story purportedly about ghosts has a surprise ending revealing a banal, non-spectral explanation — but for the most part, these stories will give you a delicious shudder, and a couple of them will genuinely haunt you for a few days.


Horror, Short Stories

The Weird by Ann & Jeff VanderMeer, editors

This collection of 20th century horror fiction and ghost stories is sweeping in scope and comprehensive in coverage, from the early masters of the craft like Saki and Algernon Blackwood, through the classic genre writers like Shirley Jackson and Franz Kafka, through the pulp writers like Robert Bloch and Ray Bradbury, to more recent writers like Clive Barker, Stephen King, and Octavia Butler. The book’s strength is also its weakness, though: at 1100 pages of double-columned type, the book feels more like a reference work, to be read at a desk or reading table, not propped up in bed late on a blustery, rainy night, which is how this fiction should be consumed.