A Cineaste’s Bookshelf

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REVIEW: The Half Life of Valery K

Regular readers of Natasha Pulley will find this novel to be least like any of her others. While there are some winks to her other universes (a pet octopus, a lighthouse), this may be her most grim. The alternate realities explored by her previous characters exist only in the author's imagination. Here it is a battle of conflicting realities -- the one which is killing people covertly and the one which the government wishes to portray.
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REVIEW: In the Houses of Their Dead

Like most American families in the 1840s and 50s, the Lincolns and the Booths practiced a religion that also embraced aspects of Spiritualism. By using this framework for the biographical history, Alford explores the societal turmoil that allowed Lincoln to become president and John Wilkes Booth to become an assassin. 
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Top Ten Tuesday: Time In Title

This week, the suggested topic is books with units of time in the title. At first this seemed kind of random, but it actually made for a fun list that crosses genres. 
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Books for June

I'm walking across England this month! 84 miles along Hadrian's Wall, plus some wandering around. Aside from a long transAtlantic flight, I don't think I'll be doing too much reading in June, but here are some new and forthcoming books to check out.
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REVIEW: Two-Way Murder

The cast of village characters becomes a network of suspects, amateur detectives, and gossips -- each trying to piece together the events of the evening.
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Top Ten Tuesday: Comfort Reads

Sometimes embarking on a new literary journey is just too much to contemplate. Sometimes, you just need to read a known quantity, a story you love -- something comfortable. Here are some of my favorite comfort reads.
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Top Ten Tuesday: Still Not Read

We all do it -- get really excited for a new book, make sure it's preordered or on the library waitlist, count down the days until we can get it in our hands, hug it all the way home, then add it to pile and promptly begin to feel guilty about not reading it immediately.
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REVIEW: The Cat Who Saved Books

Rintaro is a rather shy high school student. He spends his free time working in his secondhand bookstore, which he has inherited after his grandfather died. One evening the bell over the door jingles and in walks a cat.
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Books for April

I know I have been delinquent in my book reviews, but I promise I AM reading. So much reading. In fact, this past week was the most crowded publishing day the industry has seen in a long time. So while I work my way through the literal piles of books to review, here's a few new and upcoming titles to check out this month.
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REVIEW: The Third Pole

Author Mark Synnott was part of a crew hired to investigate the probable route of George Mallory and Sandy Irvine. They were the leads of a 1924 British expedition to summit the peak. The men left base camp for the top of the world and were last spotted about 800 feet from the summit. They were never seen alive again. Experts would argue whether the pair made it to the top before succumbing to the mountain.
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REVIEW: Observations by Gaslight

There are only a handful of authors that I trust implicitly. There are even fewer that I trust working within the world of Sherlock Holmes. Lyndsay Faye is the only writer I can think of who checks both boxes.
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Books for February

“There is always in February some one day, at least, when one smells the yet distant, but surely coming, summer.” — Gertrude Jekyll
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REVIEW: Defenestrate

Nick and his twin Marta (also the narrator) are convinced their family history carries a curse -- their people die from falling. Ever since a Victorian era Czech ancestor pushed a stonemason off of a scaffold, his progeny suffered the consequences.
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REVIEW: The Shadows of Men

Abir Mukherjee has created an amazing set of characters and stories. In this fifth installment of Wyndham and Banerjee mysteries, the pair must unravel a political conspiracy and clear Surendranath's name. 
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REVIEW: Murder's A Swine

Nap Lombard wrote this novel set in Blitz London while they were living it. In fact, they were air-raid wardens themselves -- the simultaneous monotony and chaos of inspired their writing.
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