Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield. Washington Square Press/Simon & Schuster, 2018. 464 pages; $17.00 (paperback); reading level: Adult Centering her 1887 tale around the Swan, an inn on the River Thames, Setterfield goes to great lengths to insist that this is an old-fashioned story: The first chapter is entitled “The Story Begins…” and… [Read More]

Night Becomes Day; Changes in Nature by Cynthia Argentine Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

Night Becomes Day; Changes in Nature by Cynthia Argentine; illustrated with photographs; Millbrook Press/Lerner, 2022. 32 pages; $27.99 (hardcover, reinforced library binding); reading level: Ages 7-12. Academic credentials can distance a nonfiction writer from young readers. Here, the author’s degrees in English, environmental science, and environmental law have accomplished the opposite. Argentine’s meticulously-researched narrative is… [Read More]

The Ravenmaster; My Life with the Ravens at the Tower of London by Christopher Skaife Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

The Ravenmaster; My Life with the Ravens at the Tower of London by Christopher Skaife; Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2018. 241 pages; $26.00 (hardcover); reading level: adult. When he retired from the British army after twenty-four years of service, Christopher Skaife realized that “there are not a lot of options for history-loving storytelling infantry soldiers…who… [Read More]

On My Reading List – September 2021 Through June 2022…

Early each year I pick out the books I’ll be reading with my Book Discussion Group for the coming year. We read books from September through June. After reading reviews, getting opinions from readers I trust, and scanning classics I might have missed, here are the titles I’ve come up with and the reasons they… [Read More]

Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday; Simon & Schuster, 2018. 271 pages; $16.00 (paperback); reading level: adult. Halliday’s first novel opens as twenty-five-year old Mary Alice, an aspiring writer, meets a successful, aging novelist on a park bench and begins a relationship with him. Halliday doesn’t try to conceal the fact that the situation is loosely based… [Read More]

Dancing Bears; True Stories of People Nostalgic for Life Under Tyranny by Witold Szabłowsk Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

Dancing Bears; True Stories of People Nostalgic for Life Under Tyranny by Witold Szabłowski. Penguin Books, 2014. 233 pages; $16.00 (paperback); reading level: adult. This intriguing book (translated from Polish) is divided neatly into two parts. The first centers on the 30-acre Dancing Bears Park in Belitsa, Bulgaria, where domesticated bears, trained to perform from… [Read More]

The Flapper, the Impostor, and the Stalker by Charlene Bell Dietz Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

The Flapper, the Impostor, and the Stalker by Charlene Bell Dietz; Quill Mark Press, 2017. 297 pages; $16.99 (paperback); reading level: adult. This prequel to The Flapper, the Scientist, and the Saboteur (2016) is set in 1923 and provides the backstory on Kathleen McPherson, the aging flapper/sleuth in the earlier-published book. Kathleen is seventeen in… [Read More]

Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy; The Story of Little Women and Why It Still Matters by Anne Boyd Rioux Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy; The Story of Little Women and Why It Still Matters by Anne Boyd Rioux; W.W. Norton, 2018. 273 pages; $16.95 (paperback); reading level: adult. Rioux spends two thirds of her book on background material (a biographical sketch of Alcott and her family, the reception and popularity of Little Women through the… [Read More]

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott; Signet Classic, 2012 (originally published in 1828 and 1829). 507 pages; $5.95 (paperback); reading level: high school/adult. I hadn’t read this book as a child and, with the 150th anniversary of its publication upon us and a new movie adaptation due out, I thought it might be time. It… [Read More]

On My Reading List – September 2019 through June 2020…

Early each year I pick out the books I’ll be reading with my Book Discussion Group for the coming year. We read books from September through June. After reading reviews, getting opinions from readers I trust, and scanning classics I might have missed, here are the titles I’ve come up with and the reasons they… [Read More]