One long, one short: ‘The Book of Candlelight’ and ‘Human Smoke’

Some men pick up a copy of Ellery Adams’ “The Book of Candlelight: A Secret, Book, and Scone Society Novel” (Kensington Publishing Corp., 2020, 320 pages) might read the blurb, flip through a few pages, and return the novel to its shelf, judging it a chick-lit book and unworthy of their attention. 

Summer’s coming, and it’s time for some fun!

“Summertime, and the livin’ is easy….” So begins one of the George Gershwin’s greatest songs, an aria in “Porgy and Bess” reproduced by scores of musicians ranging from Ella Fitzgerald to Willie Nelson to Norah Jones.

Good book, bad ending: ‘A Stolen Focus’

Sucker-punched. That’s how I felt when I finished reading Johann Hari’s “Stolen Focus: Why You Can’t Pay Attention — and How to Think Deeply Again” (Crown Publishers, 2022, 368 pages).

National Poetry Month: Honor our poets by listening

What month other than April could possibly be designated National Poetry Month?

From Soviet Russia to the American rural South

Time for the book review machine to travel back a few years.

An old guy looks at graphic books

Over the last year or so, I’ve noticed that the graphic books on the shelves of my public library are multiplying faster than a battalion of rabbits. 

Wild and free: two books, two approaches

A friend who was a fan of the Lee Child’s novels used to wear a T-shirt reading, “What would Jack Reacher do?”

‘Just Maria’ a good read for all ages

What’s up with me?

In my old age, am I regressing backwards to my teenage days? Or is Jay Hardwig’s novel “Just Maria” (Fitzroy Books, 2021, 133 pages) aimed at an adult audience as well as adolescents?

Pancakes, with a side of ‘Craft & Culture’

Several years ago, when my children and grandchildren were gathering for a week at the beach in a house I’d rented, a good friend gave me a pre-vacation tip that put me in the winner’s circle with the grandkids. “Make them an ice cream breakfast,” she suggested.

Take the edge off winter with story hour

It’s late Saturday afternoon, February, that hour before supper when the little ones go bananas, and the 5-year-old and his sister are driving you bonkers, to the point where you want to plop them down in front of the television watching “Arthur” while you slosh some red wine into a glass and smoke a cigarette, though you only drink wine with supper or in the evenings, and you gave up the cigs years ago in college. 

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