Reading Room Blog
Tom Rob Smith’s debut novel, Child 44, kicks off an addicting trilogy that will leave you on the edge of your seat.
In 1955, Anne Morrow Lindbergh penned what has become one of the most inspirational books in the 20th century, Gift from the Sea. Drawing from her years of marriage and motherhood, as well as her work as a writer, Mrs. Lindbergh writes of the various stages of a woman’s life, comparing them to the different seashells she finds on the beach of her vacation cottage. Each shell, each stage, has its assets and drawbacks, but the thread of continuity is what it means to be a woman and how to approach each stage without losing one’s self.
Carter and Sadie Kane are brother and sister, but since they barely get to see each other, it’s awkward every time they do. It’s been years since their mom’s tragic, mysterious death, and now 12-year-old Sadie lives with her grandparents in England and goes to private school while 14-year-old Carter travels the world with his dad, a famous Egyptologist.
Sadie’s a rebel, and Carter’s the grounded one, and each one thinks the other has it easier. But this winter visit is beyond awkward. It’s downright dangerous. The Kane family’s troubles are far from over, and Carter and Sadie will have to learn to rely on each other as their magical legacies are revealed.
Quentin Coldwater is used to being the smartest person in the room. Some would even call him a genius. Even in the world of elite private schools, Quentin is bored out of his mind, finding his only escape in the fictional world of Fillory. Fillory is a fantasy realm existing in a series of books from his childhood, books which years later still resonate with him as a young adult. Quentin’s ho-hum existence is interrupted and forever changed when he is spontaneously transported to Brakebills University, a school for people like Quentin who have the potential to perform magic, real magic.
Most people today have heard of Charles Lindbergh, the first man to fly non-stop over the Atlantic Ocean. Fewer people these days are familiar with Anne Morrow Lindbergh, his wife, but, in the mid-20th century, they were both well-known in America and abroad.
Hamish Macbeth, lay-about but ultimately effective policeman of the Scottish village of Strathbane, believed that he was very close to achieving his heart’s desire. The cool and lovely Priscilla had agreed to be his bride!
Boynton, Oklahoma: 1917. A stranger comes to town. A nondescript, little man in a bowler hat. Says his name is Nick. Old Nick. He seems drawn to the flaring tempers and anti-foreigner rants that are bubbling up as the United States enters WWI. He can smell the murderous rages and incendiary fear wafting off some of the citizens. For the scared and the angry, he might sidle up behind them and whisper in their ears, "Tell me. Tell me what you want." And then, somehow, their ugly thoughts . . . become reality.
Every year, as the hubbub from the winter holidays dies down and the year approaches its close, I am not saddened by the taking down of the tinsel but excited at the next holiday to come. New Year's, of course! Yet it's not the late-night partying and champagne that I look forward to. It's the resolutions. You see, I am one of those crazy people who actually loves reflecting on the year and improving my life. But, wait! Don't stop reading yet! If you're one of those people so jaded by past experiences with un-met resolutions that you've actually resolved only to "not make a resolution at all," I promise there's a way you can set a goal for the new year and actually make progress towards completing it.
Thirty-seven years ago, Stephen King released his first collection of short-story fiction under the title Night Shift. It is with this book that King revealed his inner, darkest demons through his words, forever changing the wicked path of the horror genre.
In 2015, King gives us his next set of sensational short stories, The Bazaar of Bad Dreams. At the beginning of each selection, King offers the reader an explanation of how the story came to be and why he included it. Some of his stories have been rewritten for an updated version (such as “Mile 81,” a fast-paced thriller involving a monstrous station wagon), while others were especially written for the short story collection (“The Dune” & “Morality”).