's CBR7 Review No:51

Family Dinners Are Killer

Strangers by MIchaelbrent Collings (Buy on amazon.com)


We begin with an anniversary. A family prepares to mourn the one year loss of a son and brother but there are two problems–the family is so fractured that they don’t even want to be in the same room as each other and two, there’s a madman who plans on killing them all because of […]

's CBR7 Review No:89

Sad Birthday Parties and Smoking Wrecks

Music for Wartime by Rebecca Makkai (Buy on amazon.com)

This was like rifling through a box of Polaroids of a young woman growing into an artist.  The collection of short stories feels of a whole piece, telling stories of Eastern Europe and of moral dilemmas.  There are no easy choices and there are no easy consequences in any of the works.  Makkai has had […]

's CBR7 Review No:88

Chuck! It’s Your Cousin, Marvin Berry! Don’t Read This Goddamn Book!

Landline by Rainbow Rowell (Buy on amazon.com)

I guess I just liked her earlier stuff.  The concept and conceit of this book is ridiculous.  A television writer tries to save her marriage by talking into a magic telephone that allows her to communicate with her husband in the past.  Only, none of that matters, because she can’t change the past.  If every […]

's CBR7 Review No:126

Complexity should be your excuse for inaction

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North (Buy on amazon.com)


For once, gleefully clicking “add to cart” on Amazon.com after consuming one-too-many sangrias has paid off! You see, I have been burned more than once by their “customers who bought this item also bought….” feature. I’ve learned to be wary. But the temperatures had climbed to the mid-nineties (unusual this early in the summer for my […]

's CBR7 Review No:48

An unsuccessful glimpse inside the mind of a killer

Blood on Snow by Jo Nesbo (Buy on amazon.com)

Blood on Snow

 Nesbo steps away from his standard Norwegian detective fare with this slim new novel that starts and ends with the blood of a murdered man soaking into the snow. Blood on Snow is written from the viewpoint of a mob “fixer,” a contract killer named Olav who is kept on the payroll of Oslo’s biggest […]

's CBR7 Review No:16

A Theory of Creativity, Teaching, the Universe and Everything

inGenius: A Crash Course on Creativity by Tina Seelig (Buy on amazon.com)

I’m starting a new teaching job in the fall, and I’ve been starting to work on new lesson plans and classroom strategies. Thus, when I saw a friend’s review of this book on Goodreads with a comment concerning utility in the classroom, I figured I’d try it. Although there is extensive discussion of teaching methodology, […]

's CBR7 Review No:18

Raylan Givens, Karen Sisco, and assorted creeps, criminals, and ne’er-do-wells

Fire in the Hole: Stories by Elmore Leonard (Buy on amazon.com)


Nine short stories make up the Fire in the Hole collection (previously called The Women Come out to Dance) and are a great introduction to Elmore Leonard’s easy style of writing and terrific dialogue. I’m just starting to get in to his books, this would be the 4th I’ve read, and so far I’m enjoying […]

's CBR7 Review No:126

A YA novel about death and first love

If I Stay by Gayle Forman (Buy on amazon.com)

Sometimes, my YA reads are self-selected, and other times, students encourage me to read books that will help me enter conversations with them. Gayle Forman’s If I Stay falls into the latter category. I didn’t know if I would like the book or not, and I certainly did not plan to see the movie without […]

's CBR7 Review No:125

Getting lost, going wild, finding yourself.

Wild by Cheryl Strayed (Buy on amazon.com)

One of my students read Cheryl Strayed’s Wild for her book review and oral report this last spring and raved about it. I’ve had several friends recommend it to me, and I just haven’t gotten around to it yet. I thought that summer vacation would be an excellent time to finally break into Wild. I’m […]

's CBR7 Review No:124

A life in urban foraging

Eating Wildly by Ava Chin (Buy on amazon.com)

I’m in the midst of reading for my Fall Composition class, and when I heard about Ava Chin’s Eating Wildly, I was intrigued by the concept of foraging. Would it be a survival skills book? A how-to in wild plants, herbs, fruits, and lore? Or would it be more dystopian in nature—a sort of book […]

's CBR7 Review No:123

A study in how we troll and shame each other–with a real-life example

So You've Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson (Buy on amazon.com)

I’ve never thought consciously about public shaming, but I’ve seen its effects on the internet, and seen an alarming increase in the incidents occurring. One actually came to my university campus. I won’t mention names, but you can probably get a result via Google. A doctoral student in a humanities department (not mine) teaching a […]

's CBR7 Review No:122

My introduction to Flavia de Luce

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley (Buy on amazon.com)

I have to confess, I’m a casual reader of mysteries at best. I do enjoy the genre, when I find a good mystery that I love. But sometimes I just forget to read them. When I was browsing my library the other day (and in my household, that’s only a day that ends in y), […]