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book title index

American Chica
An Old Wife's Tale
Back When We Were Grownups
Bad Boy: A Memoir
Best American Essays 2000, The
Beyond the Burning Time
Big Cherry Holler
Black Hands, White Sails
Black Jack
Blue Latitudes
Boxer, The
Chasing the Hawk
Company, The
Copper Elephant, The
Count and the Confession, The
Departures & Arrivals
Edge on the Sword, The
Edith's Story
Encore Provence
English Passengers
Fever 1793
Fireflies in the Dark
Fisher King
Food and Whine
Grange House
Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone
Hatbox Baby, The
I Dwell in Possibility
In My Father's Shadow
Island of Lost Maps, The
Jane Austen in Boca
Jefferson's Children
Journey on the James
Known World, The
Larissa's BreadBook
Last Girls, The
Lost in Time
Memories of a Lost Egypt
Midnight Train Home, The
Midwife's Tale, The
Mockingbird Years
Of Beetles and Angels
On Mystic Lake
Paradise Park
Peace Like a River
Plantation Feasts and Festivities
Playmaker, The
Real American Girls
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry
Rose Garden, The
Rowan Hood
Scorched Earth
Second Sight
Shylock's Daughter
Something Wicked's in Those Woods
Sound of One Hand Clapping, The
Special Fate, A
Starbright and the Dream Eater
Storm Warriors
There Comes a Time
Time Capsule
Tom Cringle: Battle on the High Seas
Torn Thread
Totally Confidential
True Story: A Novel
Verb 'To Bird', The
Walking Through Walls: A Memoir
Whale Talk
What the Body Remembers
When Dad Killed Mom
White Girl
Wuhu Diary

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© Bella Stander

book reviews


Chasing the Hawk: Looking for My Father, Finding Myself
by Andrew Sheehan
Washington Post Book World
February 17, 2002

It's tough being the child of a famous and much-admired man, as Andrew Sheehan reminds us in his memoir, particularly when he's a lousy parent. This was George Sheehan, "also known as the Runner's Guru, the Runner's Doc, the Runner's Runner"...

by Sándor Márai, translated by Carol Brown Janeway
Wall Street Journal
October 26, 2001

One may not be able to tell a book by its cover, but the satin-textured jacket of Embers, with its haunting image of a 19th century noblewoman, is sure to seduce readers who might otherwise bypass a translation of an unknown 60-year-old novel...

Peace Like a River
by Leif Enger
October 8, 2001

"Real miracles bother people," notes Reuben Land, River's 11-year-old narrator. He should know: His dad works miracles...

In Brief: Memoirs
Washington Post Book World
September 16, 2001

In refreshing contrast to many other current memoirists, Eric Newby, author of Departures & Arrivals, mentions only one melancholy childhood memory...Its cumbersome title is the only drawback to Wuhu Diary: On Taking My Adopted Daughter Back to Her Hometown in China by Emily Prager...

An Old Wife’s Tale: My Seven Decades in Love and War
by Midge Decter
Washington Post Book World
September 2, 2001

Being out of the ideological loop, I had never heard of Midge Decter, who, according to the jacket of An Old Wife's Tale, is "one of the nation's most renowned female conservatives." So I picked up her book with little more than idle curiosity...

The Company: The Story of a Murderer
by Arabella Edge
August 30, 2001

Here's what's missing from "Survivor": A psychotic pharmacist takes ruthless control of his fellow castaways, poisons the sick, orders his band of dissolute thugs to murder the disobedient and has the women jailed as sex slaves...

Back When We Were Grownups
by Anne Tyler
Wall Street Journal
May 11, 2001

“Once upon a time, there was a woman who discovered she had turned into the wrong person” is the enticing beginning of Tyler’s 15th novel. That’s the setup for a fairy tale, but as it turns out the only magical happenings occur in the mind of 53-year-old Rebecca Davitch...

Paradise Park
by Allegra Goodman
Wall Street Journal
March 16, 2001

Self-delusion has rarely been so hilariously and poignantly embodied as in hippy-dippy dharma bum Sharon Spiegelman...

True Story: A Novel
by Bill Maher
January/February 2001

Stand-up comedian Maher, as any fan knows, is great at acerbic one-liners. The table of contents absolutely kills...

by Jennifer Lauck
Wall Street Journal
December 8, 2000

It may seem churlish to find fault with a memoir that recounts a wretched childhood...Yet it's hard to see why six years, no matter how miserable, in the life of an otherwise unremarkable child should take up 400-plus pages...

The Best American Essays 2000
by Alan Lightman, Editor
November/December 2000

Despite the title of this series, edited by Robert Atwan, guest editor Lightman admits that he "can make no claim that these twenty-one pieces were the 'best essays' of the past year." Still, it's unlikely that there were many better ones...

The Hatbox Baby
by Carrie Brown
November/December 2000

To read this book is to be enchanted by a languid, glittering stream of words that conjure the intertwined mystery and tragedy of life...

by Bill Flanagan
September/October 2000

At its best, A&R is a scathingly funny indictment of the pop music industry, with gimlet-eyed assessments of its people and power politics. At its worst, which is far more often...

The Island of Lost Maps: A True Story of Cartographic Crime
by Miles Harvey
September 2000

Late in this fascinating book, author Miles Harvey muses, "a discovery has less to do with revelation than with declaration. Just as the word explore comes from the Latin for 'to cry out,' discovery is the act of making known...

Grange House
by Sarah Blake
San Francisco Chronicle
July 30, 2000

Sarah Blake has a doctorate in Victorian literature, and it shows. In Grange House, her first novel, she has constructed a nearly seamless pastiche of favorite 19th century literary genres...

Mockingbird Years: A Life In and Out of Therapy
by Emily Fox Gordon
July/August 2000

Far from indulging in the usual whine-and-tell autobiography, essayist Gordon uses the experiences of her troubled youth to launch an insightful meditation on the process of psychotherapy...

by Rudy Rucker
July/August 2000

As Rucker, a mathematician and computer scientist, confesses in the preface to this collection of science fiction tales spanning the past 25 years, "the later stories are better than the earlier ones"...

"Bedeviled in Tasmania"
San Francisco Chronicle
May 21, 2000

Mention Tasmania and most Americans will think of the Tasmanian Devil -- the Looney Tunes character, not even the real animal -- and maybe, if they're of a certain age, Errol Flynn, the antipodean island's most famous native son. Such thoughts are quickly banished by the novels The Sound of One Hand Clapping and English Passengers, both set in Tasmania, though in different centuries...

The Rose Garden: Short Stories
by Maeve Brennan
May/June 2000

Irish-born Brennan, who died in 1993, wrote for The New Yorker for more than 30 years, beginning in 1949. The first seven tales, written in the early to mid-50s, are set in the smug and exclusive enclave of fictional Herbert's Retreat...

What the Body Remembers
by Shauna Singh Baldwin
Washington Post Book World
February 13, 2000

...If hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, imagine the rage of a barren, shrewdly intelligent and beautiful 42-year-old who finds that her husband has secretly taken a 16-year-old bride..

Encore Provence: New Adventures in the South of France
by Peter Mayle
Publishers Weekly
June 1999

After a four-year sojourn away, Mayle is back in the region he described so enchantingly in A Year in Provence and Toujours Provence. The British author's legion of fans should be well pleased that he decided to return to his adopted homeland...

Food and Whine: Confessions of an End of the Millennium Mom
by Jennifer Moses
Publishers Weekly
April 1999

Freelance writer Moses, a stay-at-home mother of three, claims that "most mothers of small children cook the same way" she does: "in a full, outright panic, grabbing whatever isn't speckled with mold, throwing it in a pot, and calling it 'dinner.'"...

Memories of a Lost Egypt: A Memoir with Recipes
by Colette Rossant
Publishers Weekly
March 1999

Reading this slim volume is like spending an afternoon in the kitchen with a beloved older relative. What could be better than hearing tales of an exotic past while preparing the foods that are at the core of the shared memories?...

On Mystic Lake
by Kristin Hannah
Washington Post Book World
February 14, 1999

Let me make one thing perfectly clear: I am not a romance reader. Or at least I haven't been since high school, when for a while I devoured everything I could get my hands on by Mary Stewart and Victoria Holt...

children's/young adult

"New takes on old tales: Stories of love and danger, from The Iliad to The Merchant of Venice"
Chicago Tribune
August 26, 2001

You never know where the idea for a stirring, coming-of-age tale can be born -- even in "a dusty corner" of Oxford's Bodleian Library, where Rebecca Tingle first read about the warrior queen Aethelflaed in Old English...

"Tough stories of troubled souls for teen readers"
Chicago Tribune
July 1, 2001

As he did in Gypsy Davey and Whitechurch, Chris Lynch packs quite a wallop into a slim little volume by giving voice to a troubled soul on society's fringes...

"3 New Books and a Reissued Classic Make Black History Come Alive"
Chicago Tribune
March 4, 2001

Twelve-year-old narrator Nathan is one of the few fictitious characters in this stirring novel that highlights a previously ignored chapter in American history...

"Young Protagonists Deal With the Difficulties Thrown at Them"
Chicago Tribune
December 24, 2000

Technology may have been simpler way back when, but life certainly wasn't easy -- especially for people who had to earn a living. Here are some novels for young adults that show the rougher side of "the olden days"...

"Tales of Historical Adventure on Land and Sea"
Chicago Tribune
December 17, 2000

The enduring popularity of Robert Louis Stevenson and the success of modern writers such as Philip Pullman, Iain Lawrence and Gary Paulsen prove that despite the charms of modern electronic entertainment, there's still nothing like a good, old-fashioned adventure story to capture the imagination and stir up the blood. Here is a crop of recent offerings...

"Living and Learning: Preteen Protagonists Find Their Ways Through Life's Twists and Turns"
Chicago Tribune
August 20, 2000

Middle-grade fiction doesn't get much better than this lively and insightful tale about a 12-year-old who learns that even the smartest kid doesn't have all the answers to life's dilemmas...

"Illuminating the Darkness: Tales of Rescue, Courage and Resilience For and About Young People"
Chicago Tribune
April 2, 2000

Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, begins at sundown May 1, but the thoughts of Jews everywhere turn to the Holocaust during the celebrations of Purim and Passover, the spring holidays that commemorate the Jews' deliverance from their oppressors...

"Stories That Look Forward and Backward in Time"
Chicago Tribune
March 5, 2000

This winsome little gem will captivate anyone who's ever found the historical notes at the back of the American Girls books as interesting as the fictional stories...

Children's Books
Washington Post Book World
February 20, 2000

"When the future arrives," asks compiler Michael Cart in his introduction to Tomorrowland: 10 Stories About the Future, "will we be proud -- or will we be dismayed?"...

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
by J. K. Rowling
Publishers Weekly
June 1999

Fans who have been anxiously awaiting the return of young British wizard Harry Potter (and whose clamor caused the Stateside publication date to be moved up three months) will be amazed afresh...

by Louis Sachar
Publishers Weekly
August 1998

"Heartwarming" may be an overused term these days, but it aptly describes this wry and loopy novel by the author of There's a Boy in the Girls' Bathroom and the Wayside School series...

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
by J. K. Rowling
Publishers Weekly
July 1998

Readers are in for a delightful romp with this award-winning debut from England that dances in the footsteps of P.L. Travers and Roald Dahl...

Beyond the Burning Time
by Kathryn Lasky
Publishers Weekly
October 1994

The evocative cover illustration of a Puritan woman in chains silhouetted against a flaming sky promises a high historical drama about the Salem witch trials. What Lasky delivers instead is a soap opera in shoe buckles...

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