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]

The Year I Was Peter The Great by Marvin Kalb Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

The Year I was Peter the Great; 1956, Khrushchev, Stalin’s Ghost, and a Young American in Russia by Marvin Kalb; Brookings Institution Press, 2017. 290 pages; $24.99 (hardcover); reading level adult. This “professional memoir” by famed NBC/CBS news correspondent Marvin Kalb (who is now in his 80s) looks back on the year 1956 when Kalb (fluent… [Read More]

Steam Jobs in Cyber-Security by Cynthia Argentine Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

Steam Jobs in Cyber-Security by Cynthia Argentine; Rourke Educational Media, 2019. 48 pages; $10.95 (paperback); reading level: grades 4-8. This book’s lively page layout will be the first thing to engage young readers. A traditional text is surrounded by three running sidebars suggesting a computer screen with multiple open windows. But Argentine’s words more than… [Read More]

Improvement by Joan Silber Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

Improvement by Joan Silber; Counterpoint, 2017. 227 pages; $26.00 (hardcover); reading level: adult. Part I of this three-part novel dangles the prospect that this will be an intriguing but straightforward story. It’s 2012 and Reyna, living in Brooklyn and the single mother of a four-year-old, narrates. We meet Aunt Kiki, Reyna’s boyfriend Boyd and, after… [Read More]

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders; Random House, 2017. 343 pages; $17.00 (paperback); reading level: adult. Set in February of 1862, in a very real cemetery where the very real body of Willie Lincoln has just been placed in a borrowed crypt by his bereaved father, the first character we meet is a very… [Read More]