Friday, January 24, 2014


 Sarah Waters


            I found this a little slow in the middle, but mostly it’s a wonderful example of a recently-penned Victorian novel. Everything about the plot—except the gender of the lovers—is fully Victorian gingerbread, including the intricate deceptions, thieves with thick Cockney accents, mistaken identities, improbable coincidences. What’s not to love?

Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Shadow of the Wind 

            I have a soft spot for stories about books. In this one, everything about the search for the mysterious sole surviving copy of a book by an enigmatic author who lurks at the edge of the story is like candy to me. The entire setting is like the best haunted house you might ever be able to imagine. One with a dusty library full of books that harbor all kinds of wonderful secrets. Usually these kinds of novels about books are strong on set-up but then fail to follow through. And in truth that’s kind of what happens in other of Zafon’s books I’ve tried to read. But in this one book, he utterly and completely nails it. It’s a purely delightful read. Most everyone who likes the smell of books will like this one. 

Markus Zusak

The Book Thief 

            Most people have read this so I won’t say much about it, other than I loved it and thought it did so many delicate things really well. As soon as I finished it I told everyone I saw to read it. I only do that once every five years or so.