Check Out the Books On My Reading List Through 2017 and See Why I Choose Them. My Reviews Will Follow!

Because I write nonfiction, I have to read a lot of books as part of my research. That means I have to be terribly picky about the books I read for pleasure. I’m not completely through my 2015-2016 stack (three more to go!) but I’ve already selected the nine titles that will be stacked on… [Read More]

Being Mortal; Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

Being Mortal; Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande. Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt, 2014. 282 pages; $26.00 (hardback). Reading level: adult. Being Mortal is based on some unwelcome truths: That we are mortal, that many of us will transition from independence to dependence as we age, and that we will all eventually die…. [Read More]

Who Done It? by Olivier Tallec Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

Who Done It? by Olivier Tallec; illustrated by the author; Chronicle Books, 2015.  32 pages; $15.99 (hardcover); reading level:  ages 3-6. With a board-book style cover and thicker-than-usual pages that turn from bottom to top like a calendar, this picture book is sturdy, unique, and inspired.  Each two-page spread sports two rows of animals and/or… [Read More]

Train Dreams by Denis Johnson Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

Train Dreams by Denis Johnson. Picador/Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 116 pages; $13.00 (paperback). Reading level: adult. In a scant 116 pages, Johnson chronicles the life and death of both Robert Grainier and the American northwest from the 1880s through the 1960s. Grainier builds bridges, fells trees, transports goods, loses his wife of four years to a fire, and by… [Read More]

Lila by Marilynne Robinson Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

Lila by Marilynne Robinson; Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014. 261 pages; $26.00 (hardcover); reading level: adult. This third installment in a series of “companion” novels covering the same events from different viewpoints (see Gilead, 2004 and Home, 2009) fills us in on the mysterious Lila. Rescued as a small, motherless child by Doll, Lila was… [Read More]

A Message for My Books – Inspired By a Passage in Alberto Manguel’s Book Curiosity

There are certain books I gaze at from afar, knowing I would love to read them but knowing, too, that I probably won’t because my list is overly long and I’m becoming more and more aware of how little time there seems to be in a day. One book I know I won’t get to… [Read More]

Check Out the Books On My Reading List Through 2016 and See Why I Choose Them. My Reviews Will Follow!

Each year I have the agony and the ecstasy of choosing nine books to read with my Indianapolis book discussion group. I don’t read the books before I select them. I choose them on the basis of reviews (New York Review of Books, the magazine Bookmarks, NPR) and recommendations from friends, librarians, writers, and bookstore staff…. [Read More]

The Zhivago Affair by Peter Finn and Petra Couvée Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

The Zhivago Affair; The Kremlin, the CIA, and the Battle Over a Forbidden Book by Peter Finn and Petra Couvée; Pantheon Books/Random House, 2014. 352 pages; $26.95 (hardcover); reading level: adult. When the celebrated poet Boris Pasternak began the novel Doctor Zhivago in 1945, he and his fellow Russian writers were living under the terrifying,… [Read More]

Jump Back Paul; The Life and Poems of Paul Laurence Dunbar by Sally Derby Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

Jump Back, Paul; The Life and Poems of Paul Laurence Dunbar by Sally Derby; illustrated by Sean Qualls; Candlewick Press, 2015.  128 pages;  $16.99 (hardcover); reading level: grades 5-9. From the first sentence of this concise, lyrical biography a grandmotherly narrator takes the reader firmly by the hand:  “You never heard of the poet Paul… [Read More]

Vegetables in Underwear by Jared Chapman Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

Vegetables in Underwear by Jared Chapman; illustrated by the author; Abrams/Appleseed, 2015.  32 pages; $14.94 (hardcover); reading level:  ages 4 and under. What item of clothing is more fascinating to a potty-training-aged fashionista than underwear? And what food is more on the minds of the fashionista’s care-givers than vegetables? Chapman gives a nod to both… [Read More]