Oct 2, 2014
Pod 2 in my survey of the Harry Potter novels. The Chamber of Secrets is about growing up and getting embarrassed, duels, the basilisk in the pipes, and interesting hallucinations brought on by an enchanted diary.
Sep 18, 2014
Also called Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, the first Harry Potter novel is a great source for questions and a lot of plotting for the future. But it's most rewarding as a journey into wonder and the delight of invention.
May 1, 2014
Dornford Yates's first two novels - Anthony Lyveden and Valerie French - were about the awful fate of the gentleman ex-officer who had to earn his living in domestic service. More melodrama comes from an enchanted forest and employers from the lower classes. There's a tortured love story too. For readers who...
Apr 25, 2013
Gene Wolfe's The Shadow of the Torturer is about Severian, an apprentice torturer who is banished by his masters. His crime: to allow a client to die sooner than the law had intended. His mission: to not shame the guild. His real mission: to return the alien jewel to its owners. Science fiction par excellence, and...
Mar 29, 2013
The Dark is Rising was a set of excellent novels for decades before it was a film. Susan Cooper's 1970s series is timeless, a real world quest fantasy steeped in Arthurian magic, where Merlin is a butler and a professor.