THE ORCHARDIST by Amanda Coplin

In this understated and emotionally raw novel of a family born as much from choice as from blood, debut novelist Amanda Coplin explores themes of love, loyalty, courage, compassion, revenge, and honor, as well as the lifelong, traumatic impact of both childhood abuse and loss.

December 22, 2013 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , , ,  · Posted in: Character Driven, Debut Novel, Facing History, Reading Guide, US Frontier West, US Northwest

FLIGHT BEHAVIOR by Barbara Kingsolver

Barbara Kingsolver is one of those rare writers with whom you know what you are getting before you open the first page.

You know, for example, that the prose is going to be literary, dense, and luscious (take this descriptive line: Summer’s heat had never really arrived, nor the cold in turn, and everything living now seemed to yearn for sun with the anguish of the unloved.”) You know that the content will focus on some kind of social justice, biodiversity, or environmental issue. You know, too, that at some point, Ms. Kingsolver will cross the line into authorial intrusion based on her passion for the subject she is writing on.

But you keep coming back for more. At least, I do. There is something mesmerizing about a Barbara Kingsolver novel, and something refreshing about a writer who combines a solid scientific background with stunning prose.

December 14, 2013 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, Literary, Reading Guide, Theme driven, US South

WE LIVE IN WATER by Jess Walter

The world isn’t kind to the characters in Jess Walter’s collection of 13 short stories. Each of them is a loser, living in a “frontier of stale and unfulfilled dreams:” careless fathers, scam artists, ex-cons, gamblers, incestuous brothers, drug abusers.

November 27, 2013 · Judi Clark · One Comment
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Drift-of-Life, Short Stories, US Northwest, y Award Winning Author


In British author Boyd’s capable hands it’s actually believable that a slightly depressed, mild-mannered climatologist chooses to go underground in a strange city rather than report a murder.

Born in Britain, Adam Kindred has lived in America most of his life. Now, newly, devastatingly divorced, he’s left his U.S. university job and hopes for a new start with a fellowship in London. Fresh from the job interview, he treats himself to a meal, exchanges pleasantries with another solitary diner and afterwards discovers that the man – a research doctor – has left a file behind.

March 21, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: 2010 Favorites, Character Driven, Literary, Thriller/Spy/Caper, United Kingdom, y Award Winning Author


It is a daunting task to write a brief review about a 500 page book that holds thirty-six stories, most of which have been published in esteemed publications and spawned bestselling novels. Further, author Louise Erdrich is already known and beloved, a prolific, highly acclaimed writer of both short and long fiction.

August 27, 2009 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Short Stories, Wild West, y Award Winning Author

THE LAST WAR by Ana Menendez

If you become numb to the conflict of constant war, does it prevent you from dealing with your own personal battles? In THE LAST WAR, by Ana Menendez, Flash and Brando get paid to travel and document war – he the “Wonderboy” journalist, she the photographer/wife that follows in his shadow.

August 10, 2009 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , ,  · Posted in: Turkey, World Lit