The dictionary defines “inverted” as reversed, upturned, and this aptly describes the goings on, again and again in John Dalton’s latest novel, The Inverted Forest, an impressive follow-up to his award winning debut, HEAVEN LAKE. That the two stories are quite diverse in setting and subject serves the reader well, as HEAVEN LAKE, set in Taiwan and China, was one of those wondrous, luminous novels difficult to surpass. THE INVERTED FOREST takes place in 1996 in a rural Missouri summer camp, a sun-dappled, bucolic environment that still manages to impart a sense of subliminal unease.

September 21, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , ,  · Posted in: 2011 Favorites, Contemporary, Literary

MEMORY WALL by Anthony Doerr

Aldous Huxley once famously said, “Every man’s memory is his private literature.” In this luminous collection of short stories (including an 83 page novella), Anthony Doerr probes the fragility and endurance of memory, in locales that vary from South Africa to Hamburg…from Lithuania to Wyoming…and from the heinousness of the Holocaust to an immediate dystopian future.

August 20, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Short Stories, y Award Winning Author


It is evident that the talented Aryn Kyle still remembers what it is like to be a girl. In her superb debut, THE GOD OF ANIMALS, Kyle illuminated the life of twelve-year old Alice Winston as she grows up on a horse farm. Alice’s interactions with the people around her and the lessons she learned growing up were never forced, but came through everyday nuanced interactions—ones that emphasized the role of social class in a rapidly changing Colorado countryside.

Kyle’s latest work is a collection of short stories—Boys and Girls Like You and Me—and here too she sheds light on the many tribulations (and joys) of girlhood. What’s more she shows how the girls we read about, grow up to be the women we see around us.

April 20, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags:  · Posted in: 2010 Favorites, Coming-of-Age, Reading Guide, Short Stories, y Award Winning Author