Mini Book Reviews

Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her
by Melanie Rehak
A great exploration of the history of the popular girl detective novels and the women who wrote them. I learned a couple of surprising things — that Nancy Drew was far and away the most popular of the Stratmeyer Syndicate’s kid book series, blowing away the Hardy Boys by a mile. I was also surprised to learn how much the Syndicate actually contributed to the novels. I was always under the impression that the ghostwriters, like Mildred Wirt Benson, got a raw deal because they wrote all the books but never got credit. But in reality the writing was more of a collaboration between the Syndicate (which was primarily Harriet Stratemeyer Adams) who created all the characters and wrote detailed plots; and the ghostwriters, who filled in the details and dialog. That’s kinda cool — I’m terrible at working out a plot, but I can write great scenes and dialog.

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking
by Malcolm Gladwell
Re-read this after a quick read last year.

Deception Point
by Dan Brown
A fun mindless thriller that was entertaining and relaxing.

The Time Traveler’s Wife
by Audrey Niffenegger
I loved this complex novel about a man with a genetic mutation that causes him to be thrown backward and forward through time. Far from a fun or interesting quirk, his time travel is distressing and difficult — he can’t take anything with him; not even the fillings in his teeth. He can’t control where or when he goes, but shows up at various points in his own life, especially at traumatic events. But he also gets thrown back to visit his future wife when she was a child, beginning a romance that transcends time.

The Seven Daughters of Eve
by Bryan Sykes
A great science novel that’s not too intense or boring. Sykes is a Oxford scholar and human geneticist that has discovered a way to trace, through DNA, our matrilinial ancestry.

What’s the Matter with Kansas?: How Conservatives Won the Heart of America
by Thomas Frank
I just started this, and it’s shaping up to be an entertaining and interesting read.

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