Reading Room Blog

12/31/2015 - 4:46pm
New Year's Resolutions - Love Them or Hate Them?

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. 

12/30/2015 - 3:04am
The Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King

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”).

12/23/2015 - 2:56am
Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari

When stand-up comedian Aziz Ansari was offered a book deal, he opted against writing the typical humorous memoir. Instead Ansari, best known as Tom Haverford on the NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation, penned Modern Romance, an entertaining look at how relationships and dating have changed over the past few decades.

12/22/2015 - 2:55am
Carter & Lovecraft by Jonathan L. Howard

“Lovecraft. His tales are just fiction...right?”

Daniel Carter used to be a homicide detective. That is, until his previous case—an intense hunt for a serial killer that ended in strange and belittling tragedy. Now, he’s a private investigator, trying to get his once simple life back on track. Forgetting what happened is not so simple, however, and Carter struggles to regain his natural ability for helping others.

And strangeness. Well, let’s just say, it’s not entirely done with him yet.

12/15/2015 - 2:51am
Blotto, Twinks, and the Ex-King’s Daughter by Simon Brett

He: likes foxhunting on his fine stallion Mephistopheles, whiskey & soda, but above all else, cricket. His form is handsome and athletic. His mind uncluttered with much in the way of philosophy or common sense.

She: enjoys fashion, researching/knowing everything, and breaking men’s hearts. Well, she doesn’t really like it. Simply an occupational hazard when one is such a beautiful breath-sapper. But what this to-the-manor-born brother and sister like most is solving murders. To catch the “coffinators” is their aim.

11/30/2015 - 9:27am
Sorcery and Cecelia, or, The Enchanted Chocolate Pot by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer

“Being the Correspondence of Two Young Ladies of Quality Regarding Various Magical Scandals in London and the Country”

If you care for your Austen/Regency romances with a difference—but not necessarily zombies, Sorcery and Cecelia might be your cup of tea.

11/25/2015 - 2:39am
Sweet Christmas by Sharon Bowers

Memories of special holiday cooking can be life-long treasures. You’ll find many choices in Sharon Bowers’ Sweet Christmas.  It’s a collection of tried and true Christmas classics to make for and with your family and friends.

Having grown up in the South, the author naturally includes a number of Southern specialties: Divinity (don’t try it on a humid day); Pecan Pralines; and Pamelas—orange peel that has been cooked, lightly sugared, and perhaps given a dip of good quality chocolate.

11/24/2015 - 9:06am
An English plum pudding

Plum pudding, carolers in the snow, holly and ivy, mince pies, candles on a fir tree, wassail, and Christmas crackers—all of these and more live in my mind’s eye as a result of all of the English Christmas stories I have read and re-read over the years. The quintessential English tale of Christmas is probably Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

11/10/2015 - 2:29am
A Desperate Fortune by Susanna Kearsley

Sara Thomas is brilliant, lovely, and socially awkward. She knows a committed relationship won’t work out for her in the long-term. They never do. So, Sara isn’t looking for romance when she takes a job decrypting an old manuscript. Yet that is what she finds in Susanna Kearsley’s A Desperate Fortune.

11/04/2015 - 2:24am
The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America by Erik Larson

May 1893: The opening of the Chicago’s World Fair. The overall purpose of the celebration was to recognize the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ journey to the New World in 1492. Designed by a group of talented architects, the fair attracted over 27 million people from 46 different countries, constructed over 200 new (but temporary) buildings featuring neoclassical architecture, along with large water pools and lagoons. The exposition became an emerging symbol of American Exceptionalism.

It also became a hunting ground for one of the first documented American serial killers, Doctor Henry Howard Holmes, better known as H.H. Holmes.

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