Fiction Books

A Tale for the Time Being

Rating:  A Tale for the Time Being, by Ruth Ozeki. Penguin Books (2013), 432 pages. Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being was a finalist for the 2013 Booker prize. It has been praised in   over thirty reviews from major newspapers and magazines as “masterful,”...

Stargazing Dog

Rating:  Stargazing Dog, by Takashi Murakami. NBM Publishing (2011), 128 pages. Stargazing Dog was first published in Japan in 2008, where it has sold over a half million copies. It’s a relatively short graphic novel that should take about a half hour to...

Gone Girl

Rating:  Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn. Crown (2012), 419 pages. Flynn is a writer in the mystery and crime genres—two categories I almost never read. Her latest book, however, was described as a psychological portrait of a marriage—a plot I almost always want...

Dog Boy

Rating:   Dog Boy, by Eva Hornung. Viking (2010), 288 pages. I don’t know if there any other novels about abandoned Russian children raised by feral dogs. (If you know of any, please let The Book Shark know!) The fact that Dog Boy may be the only such book...

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand

Rating:   Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, by Helen Simonson. Random House (2011), 353 pages. I borrowed this from a friend with the understanding that it is a quiet story about two old widowed people falling in love, which admittedly doesn’t sound terribly...

Throw This Book Away

Rating:  Time to toss your copy of Zeitoun in your curbside recycling bin; it can land on top of Three Cups of Tea in the corner of the bin reserved for books that don’t even deserve donation to a library because they turned out to be dishonest accounts...

Citrus County

Rating:  Citrus County, by John Brandon. McSweeney’s (2011), 216 pages. Reviewed by Donna I happened to read this book immediately following The Vanishing of Katharina Linden, although they were published two years apart. They are interestingly similar: both...

The Snow Child

Rating:  The Snow Child, by Eowyn Ivey. Little, Brown and Company (2012), 386 pages. Easily the best book I’ve read in the last fourteen months. It has everything: Russian fairy tales, pioneer homesteaders, a lost child, a red fox, Alaskan wilderness, an...

The Vanishing of Katharina Linden

Rating:  The Vanishing of Katharina Linden, by Helen Grant. Penguin (2009), 304 pages. Back-cover reviews describe this as “atmospheric” and a “modern fairy tale,” words that fail to convey that the last quarter of the book is actually a bona fide horror...