On the blog:
Three things I need more of right now (includes very cute kitten photo!)
I don’t think I’ve ever met a Barbara O’Connor novel I didn’t love, and Wonderland has plenty to recommend it. It’s told in three voices, including Henry’s, a greyhound who has run away from a dog track and is hiding out in the woods near the gated community where new best friends Mavis and Rose live. Luckily, they’re on the lookout for a dog–well, at least Mavis is. Their good friend, the elderly Mr Duffy who works as the gatekeeper for their community, has recently lost his dog and is suffering from depression. Mavis is convinced that all Mr. Duffy needs is a new dog. Rose is less sure, but Mavis has a way of sweeping everyone up in her big plans. I do wish there had been more good adults than just Mr. Duffy (the mothers are especially irritating through most of the book), but this is a thoughtful, well-written novel, and Mavis, Rose, and Henry (and Mr. Duffy) are good characters.
I ended up really liking Saving Marty, but Paul Griffin novels are a bit like Christ Crutcher for the middle-grade set: there is SO MUCH going on. Somehow it never feels rushed, which is a testament to Griffin’s skill as a writer and the rich and interesting characters he creates. But there really is so very much going on in terms of theme and plot, and some of it is so, so sad–much sadder and ultimately much darker than what I expect to find in a middle-grade title.
Save Me the Plums is food writer Ruth Reichl’s most recent memoir, this one about her time as the editor of Gourmet magazine. It’s a quick, breezy read, with many gorgeously written passages about food, and a few interesting things to say about Gourmet, which used to be my favorite magazine to read. It wasn’t the book I was expecting, however, as it takes her nearly half the book to transition from her job as restaurant critic to editing Gourmet, and it seems like most of her work as editor consists of going out to lunch and being surprised by personnel changes. But there’s something endearing and charming about Reichl’s writing, and she does a good job bringing some outsized characters to life here. There are a handful of recipes as well. I don’t read a ton of memoir, and what I do read tends to be heavy and hard, so even though I don’t think this will stick with me, it was a treat to read something fun and entertaining.