Reading Room Blog

06/23/2009 - 10:14am


Coleman Barks, who lives in Georgia, is not only the English language's foremost translator of the poems of the 13th century poet, Rumi, but he's also a loving grandfather, and for me that's even more important. His poems about his granddaughter, Briny, are brim full of joy. Here's one:


In the glory of the gloaming-green soccer
field her team, the Gladiators, is losing

ten to zip. She never loses interest in
the roughhouse one-on-one that comes

06/18/2009 - 9:21am


Sometimes, it's merely the sound of a child's voice in a nearby room that makes a parent feel immensely lucky. To celebrate Father's Day, here's a joyful poem of fatherhood by Todd Boss, who lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.

This Morning in a Morning Voice

12/06/2010 - 1:08pm

Thanks for e-mailing us for a Book Match. You did not give a title or author for a match, but just noted that you wanted historical fiction.

There are many types of historical fiction, and you may want to give us more specifics so we can narrow down the choices! But, here are a few general resources that may be helpful to you:

Historical Fiction Booklists

Historical Novels Database

06/23/2009 - 10:16am


If You Like the “Savannah Reid" Mysteries by G.A. McKevett

You Might Enjoy…

Susan Wittig Albert - The China Bayles Herbal Mysteries Series

Set in Texas, this series features herbalist China Bayles, who abandoned her career as a Houston criminal attorney to buy an herb shop in a small town located half-way between Austin and San Antonio, Texas. Each of her mysteries has a signature herb that is connected to a major theme, and each is liberally sprinkled with information on growing and using herbs.

06/12/2009 - 10:01am


One of the privileges of being U.S. Poet Laureate was to choose two poets each year to receive a $10,000 fellowship, funded by the Witter Bynner Foundation. Joseph Stroud, who lives in California, was one of my choices. This poem is representative of his clear-eyed, imaginative poetry.

Night in Day

The night never wants to end, to give itself over
to light. So it traps itself in things: obsidian, crows.
Even on summer solstice, the day of light’s great

01/14/2011 - 2:58pm
The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux

Green Mansions by W. H. Hudson.
Abel, a young European, falls in love with Rima, a lovely and mysterious girl of the jungle, and the two travel through the South American jungle to Rima's distant homeland.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo.
Quasimodo, the horribly misshapen bell-ringer of Notre Dame, rescues and defends the beautiful gypsy, Esmeralda.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.
A young governess falls in love with her master but their love is
threatened when a terrifying mystery is exposed.

12/06/2010 - 1:35pm

An Angel for May by Melvin Burgess.
Tam travels back in time to his small English town at the time of World War II, where his friendship helps a traumatized girl living on a farm just outside the town.

Blossom Culp and the Sleep of Death by Richard Peck.
Blossom, high-school freshman and possessor of "second sight," helps an Egyptian princess, dead for 3500 years, to regain her tomb, and in
addition saves a suffragette school teacher from losing her job in 1914.

08/27/2009 - 11:42am

Down the Rabbit Hole: an Echo Falls Mystery by Peter Abrahams.
Like her idol, Sherlock Holmes, Ingrid uses her intellect to solve a
murder case in her hometown.

Twisted Summer by Willo Davis Roberts.
Fourteen-year-old Cici hopes for a romantic summer at the beach but
instead finds herself trying to solve a murder which had occurred there the previous year.

12/06/2010 - 3:27pm

The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett.
A young witch-to-be named Tiffany teams up with the Wee Free Men, a clan of six-inch-high blue men, to rescue her baby brother and ward off a sinister invasion from Fairyland.

Out Standing in my Field by Patrick Jennings.
Although fifth-grader Ty Cutter is named after baseball great Ty Cobb, he is the worst player on the Brewer's team--which happens to be coached by his overly-competitive father.

08/27/2009 - 11:56am

Boston Jane by Jennifer L. Holm.
Schooled in the lessons of etiquette for young ladies of 1854, Miss Jane Peck of Philadelphia finds little use for manners during her long sea voyage to the Pacific Northwest and while living among the American traders and Chinook Indians of Washington Territory.

The River Between Us by Richard Peck.
During the early days of the Civil War, the Pruitt family takes in two mysterious young ladies who have fled New Orleans to come north to Illinois.


Subscribe to Reading Room Blog