Since receiving my first stack of slim Scholastic paperbacks in grade school, chosen with careful deliberation from the order forms periodically handed out by the nuns, books have been my primary addiction. My formative years were spent developing a deep appreciation for the classics: Hawthorne, Melville, Pynchon, and James. At the same time, I’ve never lost my natural affinity for a good mystery, awakened by Nancy Drew in the third grade and solidified by Agatha Christie in the fourth. One of my favorite books is Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers—I seem to reread it almost yearly because its background theme concerns women in academia and being happy with your ‘job’, whatever it may be. It also touches on whether or not a man can truly appreciate a woman for her brains; in Lord Peter Wimsey, Harriet Vane finds her answer and I find renewed patience for my own life’s twists and turns.
Those very twists also make me very impatient with the plethora of books centered on personal upheaval. More than anything else (well, except for a good sense of humor), I value intellectual curiosity and I’ve found that authors in the genres of mystery, suspense, and thrillers do a tremendous amount of research in the service of their imaginations while still providing the personal characterisations that make me want to go back for more. I love to be transported through my reading and I love to learn something new every time. My preferred reading generally encompasses almost every variety of biology-run-amok to the not-so-genteel undercurrents of a good English village mystery. Other genres, including historical fiction, children’s literature, and art history reflect my far-flung interests. I have very high expectations when I open the cover of a book and I love being able to share my pleasure through this blog.
About the name. When I thought about what I wanted to do with this blog, the first objective was to have fun. I thought about Omer’s, the little clapboard penny candy store up the street from our house in Rhode Island—our childhood mecca. A man resembling a large aging biker stood behind banks of glass cases filled with every kind of penny candy and tiny toy you can imagine. We never had much to spend and it took ages for me to decide which color of Rat Fink to get but we left happy, our carefully chosen purchases rattling around in tiny paper bags. I look at rows of books the same way I used to look into those glass cases. I take a great deal of delight in their variety and their ability to instill a little thrill of anticipation. I hope that after you’ve looked around a bit, you will find something you like and leave happy.
I also want to note that, unless I say otherwise, the books I review are my own and I am I not paid for my reflections (though that would be lovely). I review only what I like because I truly enjoy sharing a good book and because there is enough discord in the world without my taking up valuable time and space with something that didn’t move me in some way. Thank you so much for your interest!
One more thing: To accommodate the artistic side of my brain and as a connection to the work I do for my two Etsy stores, I have a new art & interests blog called simply Penny Candy. Please visit!