Meet the Creatures of The Sasquatch Hunter’s Almanac

January 29, 2015 2015, ARC, reviews 10

Meet the Creatures of The Sasquatch Hunter’s AlmanacThe Sasquatch Hunter's Almanac by Sharma Shields
Published by Henry Holt and Company on January 27th 2015
Source: Publisher
Pages: 400
Buy From IndieBoundGoodreads


As a young boy, Eli Roebuck is scarred by the image of his mother embracing a massive, hair-covered man she calls Mr. Krantz before leaving the life she knows and following him into the woods. For the next several decades, Eli will be haunted by her choice and his life will be dominated by the search for the elusive Mr. Krantz in The Sasquatch Hunter’s Almanac by Sharma Shields.

The Sasquatch Himself

Eli comes to believe that Mr. Krantz is none other than the mythical Sasquatch rumored to roam the forests of the Northwest. Sharma Shields follows Eli in his quest to find the creature, but also allows readers to experience life from the perspective of the Sasquatch himself.

The Half-Bird Shopkeeper

Eli’s wife finds herself in a local shop that seems to appear only when customers need it. Run by a woman with ostrich legs and filled with odd trinkets, the shop leads his wife to a purchase that will permanently alter her life’s course.

The Silver-Blooded Unicorn

One of Eli’s daughters accidentally hits a unicorn with her car, leaving it to die on the side of the road. She finds herself strangely drawn to the animal and can’t resist the urge to steal its powerful horn.

The Sasquatch Hunter’s Almanac is peppered with many creatures, both familiar and new, that breathe magical realism into the novel as it winds its way through the twentieth century. Starting with Eli’s childhood in the early 194o’s and following his family through the next several decades, each chapter becomes a snapshot of life and feels almost like a short story. Unfortunately, this makes it easy for some sections to stand out from others, giving the book a slightly uneven feel. Still, Sharma Shields has written an unexpected, ambitious novel filled with creepy creatures to prove it.


Your Transition to Adult Reading

January 27, 2015 2015, discussion 57

First Adult Book


A few months back, The Guardian wondered which book marked your transition from child to adult? Oh boy, are these cats making me feel uncultured. I definitely made my way to Catcher in the Rye and Animal Farm, but not before taking a little detour to the land of Oprah’s Book Club.

By middle school, I grew out of The Baby-Sitters Club feeling very lost and vaguely remember asking teachers and librarians what to read. Though YA in the mid-90’s wasn’t anything like it is today, I know they led me toward authors like Caroline B. Cooney, who I devoured pretty thoroughly. I still felt somewhat babied and frustrated by the reading, but didn’t really know how to pick out a “grown up” book. Enter Oprah!

BookRiot‘s Rebecca Schinsky mentioned this phenomenon in a podcast episode, and it seems I too fell into the bubble of readers transitioning out of middle grade just as Oprah’s Book Club took off. I’m not sure how I ended up with a copy of Wally Lamb’s She’s Come Undone, but assume I grabbed it from an overflowing shelf and my parents (who never restricted my reading) bought it for me. While I can’t call it the most ideal book for a thirteen year old, it definitely reignited my curiosity in reading…among other things. I followed that up with more titles from Oprah’s list, like Where the Heart Is and White Oleander, and don’t think I ever looked back.

I do wonder how this impacted my reading life. Is it why I’m more attracted to confronting reads? If so, thanks Oprah!


What book or books marked your transition to adult reading? How do you think that impacted your reading life?


It’s Monday, January 26th. What Are You Reading?

January 26, 2015 2015, it's monday, what are you reading? 31


So, it’s Monday and the reading is slow. Not bad, but slow. I still don’t feel like I’ve completely hit a groove yet this year and though there’s been one or two standout titles, nothing is catching me the way I’d hoped it would. So, I’m doing some serious mood reading and jumping into I Am Radar by Reif Larsen, which is a chunkster I’ve been pretty excited about. On the other end of the spectrum, Bones & All by Camille DeAngelis is a title that hadn’t been on my radar until just recently. I’m hoping its creepy little cannibalistic story can pull me in the way I’ve heard it has for others.

If you haven’t seen it yet, Bibliodaze is doing a really interesting survey of the online book community. If you have a few minutes, head over and check it out.

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?


The Sneakiest of Spoilers

January 22, 2015 2015, discussion 53

sneaky spoilers
I think most of us find it frustrating when a review or discussion outlines a book’s entire plot without fair warning of spoilers, but what about the spoilers that aren’t really spoilers? You know, the the little bits of information that can change your reading experience without revealing the plot. What do I mean?

There’s A Twist!

This was actually a major discussion on an episode of Books on the Nightstand not too long ago. I fall somewhere in the middle on the issue, usually depending on the hype of the book. I don’t mind if it’s just a blurb or jacket copy that mentions a twist, but if all the talk around the book begins to blow that out of proportion it will likely have an impact on my reading. I read We Were Liars several months before it was published, with little more information outside a few recommendations and the jacket copy to go by, and really enjoyed it. But I think I would have been really frustrated had I read it once hype began focus so much on the novel’s twist.

This Year’s (That Book)

Now, I think we all know that by this point calling a book “This Year’s Gone Girl!” can mean a dozen different things, but in some cases a comparison can enter the spoiler zone. Some read-alikes and recommendations are so close that similarities make themselves clear within a few pages and…well, you know how the other book ended, right?

The Unreliable Narrator

I’m a huge, huge fan of unreliable narrators, but I don’t want to know about them before I pick up a book. Where’s the fun? Instead of trusting the tale being told, I’ll turn my attention to picking apart the story. There’s a book that’s had quite a bit of attention lately and almost every mention touches on the unreliable narrator. It’s definitely made me shy away from reading. Does anyone really want to know their narrator can’t be trusted from the get-go?


This isn’t meant to be a post about the right or wrong way to blog, since those of us who do all have different audiences and purposes. Instead, it’s just curiosity about the tolerance of spoilers and what exactly we consider them to be.

So, what do you consider a sneaky spoiler?



Sweetland by Michael Crummey

January 21, 2015 2015, ARC, reviews 22

Sweetland by Michael CrummeySweetland by Michael Crummey
Published by Liveright on January 19th 2015
Source: Publisher
Pages: 336
Buy From IndieBoundGoodreads


For over a hundred years, Moses Sweetland’s family has lived on a secluded island off the coast of Newfoundland. Though it once held its own in the bustling fishing industry, the decline of recent years has sparked the mainland government to offer the residents a generous resettlement package, with the requirement that every inhabitant leave. One by one, even the most dogmatic of Sweetland’s neighbors give in to the idea of relocation, leaving the man pondering his past, his family and the secrets that haunt the land around him.

Though it took some time to settle into the novel’s quiet, almost distant style, I immediately began to appreciate Michael Crummey’s knack for showing over telling. Every bit of Sweetland‘s landscape, from familial connections to topography and even diagnoses, is laid out in delicate woven threads instead of harsh lines. The novel begs for attention, and close reading is rewarded with an investment in Crummey’s irresistible characters.

“Clara laid a hand across her eyes and there was her mother, Sweetland thought. Clara had almost nothing else of Ruth in her, but that subtle gesture of exhaustion or anxiety or annoyance was Sweetland’s sister to a T. He took the meat across the kitchen to the freezer, to put a little more space between himself and that eerie transformation.”

Sweetland tightens its grip in the second half, with Moses and the surrounding landscape meeting in a wash of memory and realization. In the intricate lives of his layered characters, Michael Crummey reminds us of the clear, sometimes heartbreaking distinction between seclusion and solitude.


Top Ten Book to Film Adaptations

January 20, 2015 2015, lists, Top Ten Tuesday, tv and movies 52

Film Adaptations


It looks like I still have my mind on the movies this week, even after the disastrous Oscar nominations, so I’m taking up The Broke and the Bookish on their idea to pick a random Top Ten Tuesday topic. We’re going with my favorite movie adaptations (with links to trailers if you’re so inclined)! To clarify, I’m only choosing from the pool of movie adaptations I’ve read and I’m not a book purist. I love film almost as much as I love reading, so I’m willing to give directors license. Also, I have no idea how Kirsten Dunst ended up here three times but…so it goes.

Little Women

This is a total nostalgia pick. It’s probably not a good movie, but I was obsessed with it as a child and I’ll watch it any time it comes on TV. It also makes me a little sad because it marks the end of Christian Bale: Child Actor.

Marie Antoinette

I know, I know. You probably hate this movie. Everyone hates this movie. I LOVE THIS MOVIE. I’m a sucker for the extravagant aesthetic when it’s warranted (so, naturally, I also love Luhrmann’s Great Gatsby and Wright’s Anna Kareninina) and I can’t resist Jason Schwartzman, even when he’s Louis XVI.

Schindler’s List

I don’t know if I could handle a book to movie list without this on it. It’s near perfection.

Fantastic Mr. Fox

I’m a huge Wes Anderson fan, but this is my absolute favorite. I want to hug everything about it. Plus: Jason Schwartzman!

Gone Girl

I’m still feeling a little ragey about Gillian Flynn’s Oscar snub, which would have made her the first female nominee to adapt her own novel as a screenplay, so I’ll just say I thought it was a fantastic adaptation.

The Virgin Suicides

Oh, hey! More Sofia Coppola. More Kirsten Dunst. Could I be more predictable? This is one of those adaptions that’s not only a great film, it’s also very true to the source.


This is always my answer when people ask about my favorite movie adaptation. I loved the book, but adore the film for completely different reasons. Namely, the typing in the score and, you know, the green dress.


I’m always surprised to find that so many people have read this graphic novel but don’t realize it was made into a film. It’s in French, but just as beautiful as the book!

The Road

It’s hard to call this movie a favorite because it’s so ridiculously depressing, but it definitely did the work of capturing the mood of the novel.

To Kill a Mockingbird

This best adaptation ever? I’m constantly afraid that someday someone will try to remake this and it will ruin everything.


What are your favorite book to film adaptations?