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Tomes and Tea Leaves

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Jaimie Admans
On Paper: The Everything of Its Two-Thousand-Year History
Nicholas A. Basbanes
Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking: A Memoir of Food and Longing
Anya Von Bremzen
The Mirror Lied: One Woman's 25-Year Struggle with Bulimia, Anorexia, Diet Pill Addiction, Laxative Abuse and Cutting.
Marc A. Zimmer, N.R. Mitgang, Ira M. Sacker
Where Snowflakes Dance and Swear: Inside the Land of Ballet
Stephen Manes
Curtis Sittenfeld
Gail Godwin
The Old Curiosity Shop
Charles Dickens, Norman Page
The English Eccentrics
Edith Sitwell, Richard Ingrams (Introduction)
Between Here and April - Deborah Copaken Kogan The central charater in this novel is Elizabeth Burns, a journalist and a mother, who is trying desperately to manage the demands and desires of both. Frustrated both with the demands of her home life, as well as with the path her career has taken, Elizabeth tries to revitalize both by investigating the murder of her elementary school best friend, April. April mysteriously disappeared from school in first grade, and it was never entirely clear to 6 year-old Elizabeth precisely what had happened. When Elizabeth the adult and mother discovers that April was killed, along with her sister, by her mother in a murder-suicide, she turns her investigation to what could have April's mother to take her own life and those of her children. Into this story is woven a narrative of Elizabeth's feelings on her family and career. She has made significant sacrifices as a journalist, her marriage has problems, and she never feels quite adequate as a mother. Bouncing betwen these two narratives, Kogan shows how Elizabeth's investigation of April's death forces her to think seriously about her own family and career problems. Though the two clearly intersect, this book can be considered two parallel stories involving the same characters. The mystery story- what happened to April- I found to be far more satisfying than the family narrative. The investigation of April's death reads like a fast-paced mystery, and I was gripped to find out what would happen next. It allows Kogan to engage difficult problems, like post-partum depression, and in many ways, April's desperate mother is the most complicated character in this book, The family narrative I found far less satisfying. Elizabeth's problems are common ones, and this novel really did not offer any sort of new perspective or insight. I found this book hard to put down because I was extremely engaged in the mystery of April's murder, but found it somewhat difficult to get through other parts of the book.