Commonwealth by Ann Patchett Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett.; HarperCollins, 2016. 322 pages; $27.99 (hardcover); reading level: adult. Nothing happens according to expectation here. In chapter one, we meet all the major characters at a 1964 christening during which an illicit kiss begins an affair. Then we fast-forward to 2014 to listen in on the husband/victim of the affair and… [Read More]

A Bittersweet Interview – Listen to an Interview with Connie Wooldridge and the Late Andrea Cheng

It’s been over a year now since my writer-friend Andrea Cheng died – too quickly and too young – of cancer. She wrote some marvelous books, some of which are reviewed on my website, and she gave me invaluable advice about my writing over the years I knew her. Quite a few years ago, Andrea’s… [Read More]

The Water Princess by Susan Verde Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

The Water Princess by Susan Verde; illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds.  G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 2016.  42 pages; $17.99 (hardcover); reading level:  ages 4-8. Gie Gie, a princess in her parents’ eyes, surveys her kingdom: the African sky, the wild dogs, the tall grass, and the dusty earth. Not part of her kingdom is water,… [Read More]

The Two Tims by David Elliott Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

The Two Tims by David Elliott; illustrated by Gabriel Alborozo.  Candlewick, 2016.  32 pages; $15.99 (hardcover); reading level:  4-8. Tim and Tim (one with blond hair, one with brown) are best friends.  Until Tom comes along.  Blond Tim plays knights with Tom while brown-haired Tim sulks.  Brown-haired Tim crazy-dances with Tom while blond Tim sulks…. [Read More]

The Turner House by Angela Flournoy Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Woodridge

The Turner House by Angela Flournoy. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015. 340 pages; $14.95 (paperback); reading level: adult. Two narratives from two time periods unfold concurrently in this impressive first novel: The first is the story of Francis and Viola Turner, who marry in 1944 and migrate north to Detroit; the second story reaches forward to… [Read More]

Work in Progress #28: A Reconstruction of My Emily Post Biography

After my agent read my latest draft of Emily we had a long phone conversation. I still had more work to do. I needed to begin in medias res (in the middle of things), I needed to get to the significant part of Emily’s life more quickly, and I needed to shorten even more. What… [Read More]

The Wright Brothers by David McCullough Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

The Wright Brothers by David McCullough; Simon & Schuster, 2015. 320 pages; $30.00 (hardcover); reading level: adult. This is McCullough’s tenth work of nonfiction and he has acquired a well-deserved reputation for turning impeccably researched facts into enjoyable narratives. This latest book is not a birth-to-death biography of the Wright brothers (it ends in 1910,… [Read More]

Duck, Duck, Porcupine! by Salina Yoon Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

Duck, Duck, Porcupine! by Salina Yoon; illustrated by the author; Bloomsbury, 2016. 64 pages; $9.99 (hardcover); reading level: Grades K-2. The characters in this collection of three (very!) short stories for beginning readers are Big Duck, the self-appointed boss; Porcupine, the passive worrier; and Little Duck, who says not a word but who knows, in… [Read More]

Fairy Tales for Mr. Barker by Jessica Ahlberg Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

Fairy Tales for Mr. Barker by Jessica Ahlberg; illustrated by the author. Candlewick Press, 2016. 28 pages; $15.99 (hardcover); reading level: ages 2-5. When Lucy’s dog, Mr. Barker, loses interest in the story she’s reading to him he leaps out of her bedroom window through a cut-out in the page. Lucy follows him through successive… [Read More]

Connie’s Advice On How to Find a Literary Agent

It’s a question I’m asked repeatedly and one I’ve had a hard time answering: How do I find a reputable agent? I found my agent by first getting six books published and then approaching a top notch agency with my latest manuscript and my publishing history. But I got my first contract in the early… [Read More]