Reading Room Blog
Young in years but not so much in worldly cares, Rose Meadows is set adrift when her wayward father abandons her permanently and her handsome, caretaking distant cousin takes up with the local Bolshevik crowd. But, in Cynthia Ozick’s historical novel Heir to the Glimmering World, Rose doesn’t give up. She takes matters into her own hands and answers an advertisement for a research assistant in a town miles away.
Melkorka has the best that life has to offer in 10th-century Ireland, born to a wealthy, powerful king and his queen. She and her mother often admonish her sister Brigid to Hush and not ask so many questions. In turn, Brigid demonstrates that to understand and relate to animals, one must hush as well.
One of the food trends with the strongest staying power has to be vegetarianism, or at least dishes that are unabashed in their embrace of vegetables, grains, and fruits. Before “Farm to Table” was a thing, we still had farmers’ markets, and cooks would take advantage of them and their own backyard gardens to serve meals with fresh, seasonal ingredients.
Inexpensive, protein-rich, and easily cooked: the egg. The egg has been one of the most valuable foodstuffs since the Prehistoric Age. Bird eggs have been used and consumed wherever birds (mostly chickens) are domesticated. “Scrambled eggs” originated in 17th-century France. They pair well with acidic fruit juices, and “dried eggs” first developed during the 19th century and were used predominantly for soldiers in World War II. Why are they so popular? Eggs work in both sweet and savory meals, including many baked goods such as cakes and pies.
“He is never alone. Not even in the Afterlife.”
Fraternal twins: alike in some ways, but different in others. Compared to identical twins, fraternal twins may not look alike, sound alike, or even have the same interests. They could even have completely different personalities, the twins appearing as just common siblings. In the case of Danny Orchard, the protagonist of Andrew Pyper’s new novel The Damned, he is very different from his lovely and vicious twin sister, Ashleigh.
I’m not sure I’ve read a book as simultaneously uplifting and horrifying as The Book Thief. Perhaps this is not too surprising as it’s narrated by Death himself.
This heart-pounding, supernatural masterpiece follows the story of worn-down rock god, Judas Coyne, who spends most of his accumulated millions collecting macabre and horror memorabilia on eBay.
Marjorie Burke was angry. Her little sister had married an Orthodox Jew and seemed to change overnight from a fun-loving, normal, naughty girl into a serious wife and mother—and a very religious one, in keeping with her new husband’s beliefs. As a grad student immersed in ancient stories of the White Rebbe, a Jewish holy man and magician, Majorie has an academic historian’s point of view on legends. She never expected them to come calling in real life or to have to face down a supernatural being called The Angel of Losses on her own.
From Harvey River: A Memoir of My Mother and Her Island, by Lorna Goodison, is a lyric examination of past generations living in the cityscapes and countryside of Jamaica. Ms. Goodison looks at her family’s strengths and strayings with loving, wise eyes.