Happiness TM by Will Ferguson Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

Happiness TM by Will Ferguson; Canongate, 2003.  309 pages; reading level: adult. First written in 2001, then re-titled and re-issued in 2003, this is a satirical look at pre-9/11 America through the eyes of a Canadian writer.  It was recently recommended by one of my favorite authors (also Canadian) so I was surprised to find… [Read More]

The Professor and the Mad Man by Simon Winchester Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

The Professor and the Madman; A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester; HarperCollins, 1999.  242 pages; $15.99 (paperback); reading level:  adult. In 1634, the French established the Académie Française to catalogue, and keep a watchful eye on, their language.  It wasn’t until 1857 that Richard Chenevix… [Read More]

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles; Viking, 2016.  462 pages; $27.00 (hardcover); reading level:  adult. On June 21, 1922, Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov is declared to be a “former person” and sentenced to house arrest in the Hotel Metropol in Moscow. Despite this setback, we sense that it is the Count, rather than the… [Read More]

Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser; Dover Thrift Editions, 2004 (first edition Doubleday, 1900). 352 pages (paperback); $7.00; reading level: high school/adult. In 1889, when nineteen-year-old Carrie Meeber, arrives in Chicago from a small town to look for a job, she is, by turns, dazzled and defeated by big-city life.  We look through her eyes with… [Read More]

Cyrus Field’s Big Dream; The Daring Effort to Lay the First Transatlantic Telegraph Cable by Mary Morton Cowan Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

Cyrus Field’s Big Dream; The Daring Effort to Lay the First Transatlantic Telegraph Cable by Mary Morton Cowan; Calkins Creek, 2018. 224 pages; $19.95 (hardcover); reading level: grades 4-12. Cyrus Field didn’t know the first thing about telegraphs when he retired from running a successful paper mill in 1853. But when his “big dream” took hold,… [Read More]

Halloween Kids Book Wicked Jack is Available as an iBook

Thanks to the talented illustrator Will Hillenbrand, Wicked Jack is back in time for Halloween!!  I am excited to announce that Wicked Jack (no longer available in a print edition) is now available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iPad, and with iTunes on your computer. The price is $2.99, and you can… [Read More]

Winter by Christopher Nicholson Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

Winter by Christopher Nicholson; Europa Editions, 2015. 269 pages; $17.00 (paperback); reading level: adult. Novels about famous writers are in vogue just now. This one, narrowly focused on the last four years of the life of British novelist/poet Thomas Hardy (1840-1928), rises to the top of the stack. When a stage version of Hardy’s novel,… [Read More]

Christine Falls by Benjamin Black Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

Christine Falls by Benjamin Black; Picador/Henry Holt and Company, 2006.  340 pages; 16.00 (paperback); reading level: adult. Can a Man Booker Prize-winning novelist write a good mystery without letting his literary skills overwhelm the basic demands of a who-done-it?  In his first installment of the “Quirke” series (which, as of 2015, includes seven volumes), John… [Read More]

The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu by Joshua Hammer Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu; and Their Race to Save the World’s Most Precious Manuscripts by Joshua Hammer; Simon & Schuster, 2016.  279 pages (hardcover); reading level: adult. Hammer has to lay a lot of groundwork before he gets to the “bad-ass” rescue promised in the title.  He puts events a relatively well-informed reader might… [Read More]

They May Not Mean To, But They Do by Cathleen Schine Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

They May Not Mean To, But They Do by Cathleen Schine. Sarah Crichton Books/Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2016. 290 pages; $26.00 (hardcover); reading level: adult. Only a seasoned writer could have pulled this one off: As I read Schine’s clear-eyed novel, I laughed and cried at the same time. I cried with the protagonist, eighty-six-year-old… [Read More]