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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Aug 14 2004

Neil Gaiman

Despite the fact that he's always photographed dressed up in black t-shirts and leather jackets, looking like he'd be happier with a skull in one hand, Neil Gaiman is actually capable of being a t...

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Aug 14 2004

Julie Garwood

Julie Garwood is a perfectly respectable romance novelist. She has a very limited output and is similar in sensibility to Judith McNaught, although without, happily, the weird sex stuff. While a...

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Aug 14 2004

Elizabeth Gaskell

The only one of Mrs. Gaskell's books that I have read is Wives and Daughters. I thoroughly enjoyed it--it has the sprawling plot and occasional heavy-handed moralizing of a Dickens novel, enliven...

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Aug 14 2004

Chris Crutcher

If Chris Crutcher wrote for adults rather than kids and was about fifty times less entertaining, I bet the people from Oprah's Book Club would be knocking his door down. Crutcher's books feature ...

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Aug 11 2004

Garrison Keillor

If you read nothing else by Garrison Keillor, at least read the "99 Theses" footnote in his book Lake Wobegon Days. If you discover that you too appreciate the glory of meandering, Midwestern Lut...

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Aug 11 2004

Laurie R. King

Best known for her Sherlock Holmes/Mary Russell mysteries, Laurie R. King is a highly literary mystery/suspense novelist with a tendency to develop stories around her other interests, particularly...

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Aug 11 2004

Annette Curtis Klause

Annette Curtis Klause has only written a handful of books, and I disliked one of them (Silver Kiss) and was too turned off by the hokey cover and title to read another (Alien Secrets). The third,...

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Aug 11 2004

Diana Wynne Jones

I read The Lives of Christopher Chant and Charmed Life as a child, loved them, and then lost track of the author. Re-discovering Diana Wynne Jones as an adult has been a delight. While I find th...

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Aug 11 2004

Louise Rennison

Louise Rennison’s Georgia Nicolson books (the series that begins with Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging) combine the agonizing adolescent dorkiness of Sue Townsend’s early Adrian Mole diari...

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Aug 11 2004

Caroline Stevermer

Caroline Stevermer is a woman who clearly isn't afraid of a little experimentation. Her alternative history/fantasy stories feature truly unusual settings, characters, and resolutions, and even i...

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Aug 11 2004

Dodie Smith

While Dodie Smith is best known as the author of 101 Dalmatians, she also wrote the strange and wonderful mid-20th century coming-of-age novel I Capture the Castle. I Capture the Castle was a cul...

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Aug 11 2004

L.J. Smith

Being a fan of L.J. Smith is somewhat trying, as we’ve been waiting for the final book in her Night World series for the better part of a decade. So while I cannot in good conscience describe tha...

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Aug 11 2004

Julia Quinn

While I have enjoyed every Julia Quinn book currently in print, I do have some ongoing problems with her writing: she's nowhere near as well researched as, say, Lisa Kleypas, and I find many of he...

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Aug 11 2004

Megan McCafferty

While there is little to distinguish Megan McCafferty’s Jessica Darling novels from the slew of other young adult diary-style novels, they are perfectly respectable entries in an enjoyable and rap...

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Aug 11 2004

Judith McNaught

Ordinarily I would put information like this in the Bitter Aftertaste section, but my feelings about Judith McNaught are so mixed that I have to begin with it: her romances feature some of the cre...

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Aug 11 2004

Arturo Perez-Reverte

Arturo Perez-Reverte’s books always fall apart in the last few chapters, but the rest of the story is so much fun that you have to forgive him. If you’re looking for enjoyably atmospheric mysteri...

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Aug 11 2004

Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Like the books of Judith McNaught, the plots of Susan Elizabeth Phillips's books all-too-frequently hinge on some (at best) very questionable sex. Unlike Judith McNaught (who honestly doesn't see...

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Aug 11 2004

Daniel Pinkwater

Daniel and Jill Pinkwater are my idols. Their collaborations (he writes, she illustrates) have produced some of the weirdest, funniest little kids’ books on the planet (including The Hoboken Chic...

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Aug 11 2004

John Lanchester

I have only read the first of John Lanchester's books, 1996's The Debt to Pleasure. This wickedly amusing book begins as an epicurean memoir and ends up as the only horror/cookbook hybrid I've ev...

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Aug 11 2004

Madeleine L'Engle

Despite being the author of over forty books, including the Newbery-Award winning children's classic A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L'Engle spent years working as a librarian at the Cathedral of St....

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Aug 11 2004

E.L. Konigsburg

Elaine Lobl Konigsburg is the only author to have both won the Newbery Award (for 1968’s From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler) and been the runner-up (for Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth...

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Aug 11 2004

Meg Cabot

The majority of Meg Cabot's books are pure Wordcandy. When she is at her best (the Princess Diaries series, contemporary romances like She Went All the Way and The Boy Next Door, the 1-800-WHERE-...

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Aug 11 2004

Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl is best known for his cheerfully creepy children's classics, including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, James and the Giant Peach, The Witches an...

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Aug 11 2004

Jill Pinkwater

Daniel and Jill Pinkwater are my idols. Their collaborations (he writes, she illustrates) have produced some of the weirdest, funniest little kids’ books on the planet (including The Hoboken Chic...

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Aug 11 2004

Charlotte Bronte

Although Jane Eyre is commonly described as a Gothic love story, only about half of the book is devoted to Jane's romance with Mr. Rochester. The first quarter of the novel focuses on Jane's mise...

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Aug 11 2004

Fanny Burney

Fanny Burney's first and best-known novel, 1778's Evelina, is usually described as the first novel of manners. Burney had originally intended the book to serve as an instruction manual for young ...

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Aug 11 2004

A.S. Byatt

A. S. Byatt is smarter than you are. She knows it, and when you read one of her novels, you'll know it, too. When she's in a rub-this-in-your-face mood, this can make wading through one of her n...

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Aug 11 2004

Lewis Carroll

Like Edgar Allen Poe, Lewis Carroll's books are too-often critiqued in the context of his private life. Highly intelligent, talented, and socially ambitious, Carroll's romantic inclinations were ...

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Aug 10 2004

Lloyd Alexander

I used to work at a major chain bookstore. Every few hours, like clockwork, a desperate-looking parent would turn up and announce that their kid had recently turned off Grand Theft Auto for the f...

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