Oct 17 2004

C. S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia are Wordcandy classics, and I am afraid that yes, you do have to read them. If you read them as a kid, it was probably pretty easy to just ignore all the anvil-s...

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Oct 16 2004

John Ney Reiber

The character of Timothy Hunter--the original black-haired, bespectacled British boy wizard--was introduced in a Neil Gaiman-penned miniseries in 1990, and DC's Vertigo Comics has trotted him out ...

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Oct 7 2004

Baroness Orczy

The Hungarian-born novelist Emma Magdalena Rosalia Maria Josefa Orczy is best known as the Baroness Orczy, the author of the Wordcandy classic The Scarlet Pimpernel. Orczy began her career as an ...

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Oct 7 2004

T. H. White

T. H. White is the author of 1958's The Once and Future King, a "novel" (actually a collection of four of his earlier books) that begins with the education of the young King Arthur and ends with h...

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Sep 25 2004

My Uncle Oswald, by Roald Dahl

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If you took any good caper movie, turned it into a book, added a boatload of tongue-in-cheek licentiousness, and stuck the whole thing in a plummy P.G. Wodehouse-style setting, you’d still en...

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Sep 23 2004

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, by Susanna Clarke

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Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell is an extraordinary book, but Bloomsbury’s attempt to market it as “Harry Potter for grown-ups” is misleading. Clarke’s ten-years-in-the-making debut novel is a witty, wildly imaginative book that’s certain to knock the socks off any English Lit major...

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Sep 16 2004

Charles Dickens

If your only experience with Charles Dickens's books is reading A Tale of Two Cities for your high school literature class, you aren't doing him justice. I am sorry to say that after that truly e...

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Aug 19 2004

Madeleine E. Robins

Madeleine E. Robins tried writing several different types of genre fiction--romances, sci-fi stories, comic books--before hitting literary paydirt with 2003's Point of Honour. This mystery series...

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Aug 19 2004

Jean Webster

Short, sweet, and witty, Jean Webster's Daddy-Long-Legs was the 1912 equivalent of Meg Cabot's Princess Diaries books. Webster's heroine, 18-year-old orphan Judy Abbott, is stunned to discover t...

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Aug 19 2004

Susanna Clarke

Englishwoman Susanna Clarke is the author of the almost universally praised novel Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (the subject of one of our Book of the Week reviews) as well as a handful of shor...

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Aug 19 2004

Anne Bronte

Anne Bronte's The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is my favorite of the Bronte sisters' books. Unlike Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights, it focuses on the consequences of Byronic behavior, rather than wadin...

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Aug 19 2004

Norton Juster

Despite being the author of the totally awesome The Phantom Tollbooth, the geek classic The Dot and the Line, and a handful of other bizarre-but-amazing kids' books, Norton Juster's focus has rema...

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Aug 19 2004

J.D. Robb

See Nora Roberts. Same person, different name. Note: The J and D in this pen name are the initials of Ms. Roberts’s sons.

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Aug 19 2004

Lisa Kleypas

We here at Wordcandy firmly believe that Lisa Kleypas is the Western World's finest living historical romance novelist. Her books are thoroughly researched without being obnoxious about it, her c...

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Aug 19 2004

Jayne Ann Krentz

Ms. Krentz has the distinction of having seven different pen names. Some of them write better than others. Note: Most of her books under the Krentz name are reasonably entertaining contemporary ...

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Aug 19 2004

Nora Roberts

Nora Roberts doesn't always live up to her full potential, but she is one of contemporary fiction's most consistently intelligent and entertaining writers. While it seems like she puts out a doze...

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Aug 17 2004

Teen Idol, by Meg Cabot

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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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