Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Spiegel & Grau/Penguin Random House, 2015. 152 pages; $24.00 (hardcover); reading level: adult. Within the first few pages of his book Coates uses a term borrowed from James Baldwin to define the enemy:  those who “believe that they are white.” In his eyes, “the power of domination… [Read More]

At Night We Walk in Circles by Daniel Alarcón Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

At Night We Walk in Circles by Daniel Alarcón. Penguin/Riverhead Books, 2013. 372 pages; $27.95 (hardcover); reading level: adult. Alarcón’s novel digs deeply into gritty issues like post-colonialism and the pervasive shadow cast by a brutal civil war, deftly juggling a tangle of themes and plot threads that would derail a less intrepid writer.  And… [Read More]

Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015. 408 pages; $27.00 (hardcover); reading level:  adult. As Miss Constance Kopp tells it:  “Our troubles began in the summer of 1914, the year I turned thirty-five.”  Constance and her two younger sisters Norma and Fluerette are riding into town from the New Jersey farm where… [Read More]

The Illuminations by Andrew O’Hagan Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

The Illuminations by Andrew O’Hagan. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015. 293 pages; $26.00 (hardcover); reading level: adult. O’Hagan writes in the third person, shifting perspective among multiple characters (sometimes within a single paragraph) and frustrating, until the very end, readerly attempts to uncover the “real story.” At the center of the tale is photographer Anne… [Read More]

Nanette’s Baguette by Mo Willems Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

Nanette’s Baguette by Mo Willems; illustrated by the author. Hyperion Books, 2916. 32 pages; $17.99 (hardcover); reading level: ages 4-8. If you’re on the lookout for every word that rhymes with “Nanette” and “baguette,” this is the book for you. Tucked away in the playful pile-up of rhymes (and it is quite the pile-up!) is… [Read More]

Ben-Gurion; Father of Modern Israel by Anita Shapira Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

Ben-Gurion; Father of Modern Israel by Anita Shapira; translated from the Hebrew by Anthony Berris. Yale University Press, 2014. 276 pages; $25.00 (hardcover); reading level: adult. In the first four chapters of this biography, David Ben-Gurion is born David Green in Plonsk, Poland, travels to Warsaw to attend high school (only to be rejected for… [Read More]

Reading Like a Writer – All Writing Can Benefit From Clarity and Organization

I’m not fond of broccoli but I eat it anyway because it’s good for me. As a writer of nonfiction, I also do the writerly equivalent of eating broccoli. Midway through the January 19, 2017 issue of The New York Review of Books, I came to an article entitled “The Trouble with Quantum Mechanics” by… [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]