Aug 17 2004

Teen Idol, by Meg Cabot

It’s not that Meg Cabot’s most recent young adult novel Teen Idol is a bad book. On the contrary, it is a clever, entertaining, and occasionally thought-provoking read. If Teen Idol had been written by an unknown author, I would have been thrilled to discover it and immediately passed it around to all of my friends...

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Aug 14 2004

Elizabeth Von Armin

Elizabeth Von Armin’s 1922 novel The Enchanted April is one of the most soothing books I have ever read. The story is simple: four very different Englishwomen respond to an advertisement for a mo...

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Aug 14 2004

Jennifer Weiner

I thought that Jennifer Weiner’s first book, the bestselling Good in Bed, was pretty good. I was bored by the angsty absentee-father plotline and rolled my eyes at the melodramatic ending, but st...

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Aug 14 2004

Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton was an extraordinary writer, but I think that most people would agree that reading one of her full-length novels is plenty. While I do have a certain masochistic affection for the P...

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Aug 14 2004

P.G. Wodehouse

American readers may be surprised to learn that P.G. Wodehouse (creator of the British icon Jeeves, the penultimate "gentleman's gentleman") is actually quite the figure of controversy in Great Br...

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Aug 14 2004

Patricia C. Wrede

While most of Patricia Wrede’s early fantasy books read like sub-par Robin McKinley, her Dealing With Dragons series and her fairytale adaptation Snow White and Rose Red are both very entertaining...

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Aug 14 2004

L.M. Montgomery

In my more clear-eyed moments, I can tell that L. M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables series is her best work--unlike the majority of her other books, the Anne series balances her sentimental ten...

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Aug 14 2004

Gail Carson Levine

Gail Carson Levine is like the diet version of Robin McKinley. Her books never get quite as freaky as some of Ms. McKinley's weirder stuff, but then she never gets quite as good, either. But if ...

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Aug 14 2004

Philip Pullman

I think lumping Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy in with the Harry Potter books is criminal. If you must compare Pullman's work to something, try Susan Cooper, and please don't press a...

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Aug 14 2004

J.K. Rowling

If you don't know who J. K. Rowling is, you've been living under a rock. If you have rejected reading her books out of a knee-jerk reaction to their overwhelming popularity or the belief that no ...

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Aug 14 2004

Ann Radcliffe

The most famous of the 18th century Gothic novelists, Ann Radcliffe is not everybody's Wordcandy. As I do not feel that I can improve upon this truly masterful description of Mrs. Radcliffe's fav...

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Aug 14 2004

Gene Stratton-Porter

Books like Gene Stratton-Porter's A Girl of the Limberlost and Jean Webster's Daddy-Long-Legs are America's answer to the books of Lucy Maud Montgomery. If Stratton-Porter's heroine is a little ...

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Aug 14 2004

Josephine Tey

Josephine Tey is not an easy writer to pigeonhole. All of her books are mysteries, but they vary so much in tone and style that it’s difficult to classify them. Brat Farrar, for example, has lit...

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Aug 14 2004

Sue Townsend

If one were to judge the British population by the diary entries of Sue Townsend’s Adrian Mole, Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones, or Louise Rennison’s Georgia Nicholson, it would be pretty easy to a...

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Aug 14 2004

Wendelin Van Draanen

Once, during a long-ago NPR interview, I listened to an Amazon.com employee blithely recommending Wendelin Van Draanen's Sammy Keyes mysteries to the parent of a five-year-old. Um… no. (Unless y...

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Aug 14 2004

Mary Stewart

Mary Stewart is best known for her Merlin trilogy. They are beautifully written, and anyone who likes Arthurian legend should enjoy them. (Although I can't say that I do. But then, the only ver...

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Aug 14 2004

Robin McKinley

If you judge by the reader comments in the review sections of Amazon.com, fans of Robin McKinley are a varied bunch. While all of her books can be filed under “fantasy”, the scope and tone of her...

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Aug 14 2004

Sarah Caudwell

I have no idea who makes this kind of decision, but whoever decided that the late, great Edward Gorey should provide the cover art for Sarah Caudwell's books was an absolute genius. Their styles ...

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Aug 14 2004

Michael Chabon

While all of Chabon's books are excellent, two in particular are Wordcandy. His young adult book Summerland is a gorgeously written novel that does for American mythology what Susan Cooper and Ll...

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Aug 14 2004

Catherine Clark

I know very little about this woman. She lives in Minneapolis, and she has a very pretty website. Her books Truth or Dairy and Wurst Case Scenario are fun stuff--the rambling journals of a self-...

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Aug 14 2004

Colette

Both Colette’s life story and the vast majority of her books read like a really far-fetched story arc on Sex and the City… if SATC was set in turn-of-the-previous-century Paris. While Colette is ...

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Aug 14 2004

Eoin Colfer

Eoin Colfer is one of the many, many fine authors to have been relegated to the "If you loved the Harry Potter books, try ___" list, which always irritates me because it seems like so many o...

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Aug 14 2004

Susan Cooper

My little brother is incapable of reading Susan Cooper’s two-time Newbury Award-winning The Dark Is Rising series without giving this whiny speech about how none of the books’ suspense actually wo...

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Aug 14 2004

Jennifer Crusie

Jennifer Crusie ties with Lisa Kleypas for the number one spot on my “Best Romance Novelists Currently Writing” list. While the two authors may seem to have little in common (Crusie writes sharp,...

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Aug 14 2004

Suzanne Enoch

The books of Suzanne Enoch, who is an otherwise only slightly above-average historical romance novelist, have been elevated to Wordcandy status for two reasons. First, she can write a non-annoyin...

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Aug 14 2004

Janet Evanovich

When I was poking around Ms. Evanovich's website I came across the following quote, and since I can't imagine a better description of her heroine than the following line, I'm just going to steal i...

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Aug 14 2004

Helen Fielding

Bridget Jones's Diary is one of those mega-successful books, like the Harry Potter series or Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum mysteries, that it's just plain stupid not to at least try. Besides b...

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Aug 14 2004

Louise Fitzhugh

Louise Fitzhugh’s 1964 novel Harriet the Spy introduced readers to a new type of children’s book: a post-Dick and Jane story where everybody, including the heroine, was pretty screwed up. Everyth...

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Aug 14 2004

E.M. Forster

E. M. Forster, author, critic, and member of the Bloomsbury Group, wrote two great books, Howard’s End and A Room with a View, and several reasonably good ones, many of which seem to have been mad...

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Aug 14 2004

Chris Fuhrman

The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys, Chris Fuhrman’s first and only novel, opens with the following paragraph:“By eighth grade, Jesus Christ had been bone meal and rumors for most of 1,974 years, bu...

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