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Jul 21 2008

Earthly Pleasures, by Karen Neches


Skye Sebring, the heroine of Karen Neches’s amusing and unconventional novel Earthly Pleasures, is one of Heaven's "Hospitality greeters"—a supernatural social worker who spends her days help...

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Jun 12 2023

Edible Economics, by Ha-Joon Chang


Ha-Joon Chang's Edible Economics: A Hungry Economist Explains the World starts off strong. Chang is a well-regarded economist, his prose is simultaneously engaging and easy to follow, and I like the cover art concept (National flags! But made of food!) Unfortunately, the end result is slightly underwhelming—a tasty but thrown-together snack, rather than a well-balanced meal...

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Jun 17 2019

Edible Schoolyard: A Universal Idea, by Alice Waters


In 1995, celebrated chef Alice Waters joined forces with the principal of a public middle school in Berkeley to found The Edible Schoolyard, an on-site organic garden that allowed students a chance to explore food as a scientific and social experience. This process was documented by Waters in Edible Schoolyard: A Universal Idea. Ignore that lofty subtitle...

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Jan 19 2016

Emma, by Alexander McCall Smith


Emma Woodhouse is not my favorite Jane Austen heroine, but she deserves better treatment than she receives in Alexander McCall Smith's Emma, one of the six titles in The Austen Project, an attempt to re-imagine Austen's novels with a modern setting. Austen's Emma is a flawed but endearing character who eventually begins to correct her many faults; Smith's Emma, in contrast, is...

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Sep 26 2016

Emma: 200th Anniversary Annotated Edition, by Jane Austen


Before we get started, I want to emphasize that this is a review of a particular edition—the Penguin Deluxe Classics 200th Anniversary Annotated version—of Jane Austen's novel Emma, rather than the novel itself. If you haven't already read Emma... well, you should! It's good...

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Sep 11 2017

The Empty Grave, by Jonathan Stroud


For the past five years, I have welcomed every fall with a new installment of Jonathan Stroud's Lockwood & Co. series. I don't know what cutesy name to give to the autumnal equivalent of a “beach read”, but that's totally what these books are—the perfect reading choice as the weather gets gloomier and we all start craving Halloween candy...

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Dec 13 2016

Envious Casca, by Georgette Heyer


If you find Georgette Heyer's best-known romance novels, to borrow a phrase from Jane Austen, rather too light and bright and sparkling, her mysteries are considerably nastier. Heyer had a gift for creating caustic, almost misanthropic characters, and nowhere is this displayed to better effect than in the pages of Envious Casca, her 1941 locked-room whodunit...

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May 13 2010

The Essential Wonder Woman Encyclopedia, by Phil Jimenez and John Wells


Normally, I wince at a sight of a $30 paperback, no matter how well-written or attractively packaged, but such was not the case for The Essential Wonder Woman Encyclopedia. If you are part of the...

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May 28 2009

The Eternal Hourglass, by Erica Kirov


The Eternal Hourglass, the first book in Erica Kirov’s Magickeepers series, introduces readers to a tantalizing new fantasy world. Kirov’s protagonist is Nick Rostov, the teenage son of the ...

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Jul 31 2017

Every Heart a Doorway, by Seanan McGuire


After reading the laundry list of awards won by Seanan McGuire's 2016 novel Every Heart a Doorway, I was expecting something spectacular. What I got, sadly, was a stylishly packaged novella that is long on atmosphere but distressingly short on plot, payoff, or fully-developed characters...

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May 1 2007

Evil Genius, by Catherine Jinks


Catherine Jinks’s novel Evil Genius opens with a list of the classes offered at the Axis Institute. Students can sign up for “Applied Physics”, “Cultural Appreciation”, or “Pragmatic Philosophy”. There’s even a wholesome-sounding offering entitled “Coping Skills”. It looks a lot like any other class list... or it would, if someone hadn’t crossed out the official class names and written in more accurate descriptions...

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Jan 12 2009

Evil Ways, by Justin Gustainis


I really enjoyed Black Magic Woman, the first book in Justin Gustainis’s Morris and Chastain Investigations series. I liked his just-released sequel, Evil Ways, too... but with considerably more r...

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Feb 12 2007

Exile, by Richard North Patterson


Richard North Patterson clearly put a hell of a lot of work into Exile. He spent countless hours on research, he did his best to be fair to both sides of an extraordinarily complicated issue, and he tried to minimize his own biases. Unfortunately, all that effort seems to have drained some of the storytelling juice out of him...

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Oct 24 2007

Exit Strategy, by Kelley Armstrong


Kelley Armstrong can pack a lot of story into a 480-page paperback. Exit Strategy, the first book in her series about a hitwoman-with-a-heart-of-slightly-tarnished-gold, features more plot twists, setting changes, and major characters than you can shake a stick at...

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May 24 2011

Exposed, by Kimberly Marcus


Kimberly Marcus's Exposed is a YA novel written entirely in free verse. It's a gimmicky approach, but the poetry format proves to be a perfect fit for this book—it takes a dark, gripping story an...

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Oct 14 2013

The Eye of Minds, by James Dashner


I have never understood James Dashner's success. He has some fun ideas, and his best-selling Maze Runner series definitely came out at the perfect, immediately-post-Hunger Games time, but his characters are incredibly boring. But he has zillions of fans who obviously feel otherwise, so I did my best to approach his new book The Eye of Minds without preconceptions...

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Jun 19 2008

The Eyes of a King, by Catherine Banner


The publishers of Catherine Banner’s The Eyes of a King have talked a lot about the fact that its author was only 14 when she started writing her book. Unlike the books of fellow wunderkinder Chri...

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