Fiction Friday: A City of Broken Glass

Journalist Hannah Vogel is in Poland covering the 1938 St. Martin festival when it comes to her attention that thousands of Polish Jews are being deported from Germany. Her reporter instincts kick in and while investigating the death of a deportee she finds herself abducted by SS agents and taken across the border to Berlin. Before they reach Berlin, however, she is rescued by her son, Anton, and her former lover, Lars. Now unable to return to their home in Switzerland without proper identity papers, Hannah begins investigating the deportation of Polish Jews…continue reading →

(Non) Fiction Friday: The Story of English in 100 Words

Ever wonder why lawyers use two words such as “have and hold” or “cease and desist” when one word would do? Or why there is a “b” in debt and a “p” in receipt? Those and other strange quirks of English are explained in The Story of English in 100 Words. From roe (a deer) in the 5th century to Twittersphere in the 21st author David Crystal describes the constantly evolving English language. Interesting details from the book: Captain John Smith made the first stab at spelling the Powhatan word Rahaughcum.  Today spelled…continue reading →

Fiction Friday: The Orphan Master’s Son

Hopefully, Pak Jun Do (phonetically, John Doe) is not the North Korean everyman. From his start in a North Korean orphanage selecting which orphans get food to his stint in the tunnels beneath the DMZ fighting in the dark to kidnapping Japanese citizens to mining uranium in Prison 33 Jun Do manages to survive the brutal, dystopian regime. Evoking George Orwell’s 1984, author Adam Johnson illuminates the struggle ordinary citizens endure to stay alive.  Moving quickly from one harrowing episode to another, the hero seems destined to outlast even the Dear Leader (Kim…continue reading →

(Non)Fiction-Friday: Quiet:The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

Do you dislike aggression? Enjoy solitude? Are you a good listener? Work best on your own? Think before you speak? You, my friend, could be an introvert. In a world that glorifies the go-get-em, up-and-at-em, hard bargaining, out-going, people-person attitudes, introversion can make even the most well-adjusted feel just a little out of step with the rest of humanity.  But Susan Cain in Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking contends that without introverts society would be decidedly worse off. It is precisely because of their introspective nature…continue reading →

Fiction Friday: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Miss Peregrines home for peculiar children By Ransom Riggs Jacob Portman finds his grandfather murdered. But this is no commonplace murder. Jacob’s grandfather, Abe, spent his life hunting wights, the monsters that prey on Peculiar Children. To find some answers Jacob and his father travel to Wales to visit the home where Abe Portman sheltered as a young refugee during World War II. There Jacob discovers both a time loop and the same Peculiar Children who were friends with Abe during the war. But something is threatening the children and their headmistress. Suspense…continue reading →