Category: Staff Favorites

December Staff Favorites

Winter Reading

Here they are, our last staff favorites for 2013. We can’t believe how this year has flown by—there were so many amazing books and so little time to read them all!

We want to take this opportunity to say thank you for spending 2013 with the Literary Duck blog writers. We obviously have some of the best and most discerning readers, and we wish you all Happy Holidays and Happy Reading. We’ll see you in 2014! continue reading >>

November Staff Favorites

IStock Cat w/ book

The cold weather is here and we’ve been cozying up with some good books. Check out what we’re recommending this month! continue reading >>

October Staff Favorites

IStock Forest Reading

Fall term 2013 is well under way at the University of Oregon, so here at the Literary Duck we’re up to our eyebrows in textbooks and other course materials. Fortunately, we’ve managed to squeeze in a little time to do some reading of our own and we’ve got a fun mix of recommendations for you. Happy October! continue reading >>

September Staff Favorites

IStock Books

Has this summer flown by for you, the way it has for us here at the Literary Duck? It seems like it was just June, the kids were getting out of school and there were vacations shimmering on the horizon. How did it get to be September so quickly?

In honor of September:

“The breezes taste
Of apple peel.
The air is full
Of smells to feel –
Ripe fruit, old footballs,
Burning brush,
New books, erasers,
Chalk, and such.
The bee, his hive,
Well-honeyed hum,
And Mother cuts
Like plates washed clean
With suds, the days
Are polished with
A morning haze.
~ John Updike, September

We’ve got some great recommendations to get you through the last warm days and to take you happily into autumn. Enjoy! continue reading >>

August Staff Favorites

IStock August Staff Favorites

The Literary Duck staff has been doing a lot of summer reading! Here are some of our August favorites… continue reading >>

July Staff Favorites

IStock Summer Reading

It’s getting hot out there. Time to find a good book, a shady spot and a glass of something icy. Sounds like a perfect afternoon to us!  In case you need some ideas for what to read while lolling in your hammock, here’s what we recommend this month. continue reading >>

June Staff Favorites

Books in Grass

Warm summer days and great books, what a perfect combination! Check out our staff favorites for June… continue reading >>

May Staff Favorites

Girl with Book in Grass

Book people in Oregon know that spring means we can finally take our reading outside into the sun. What better way to spend a lovely May morning than on a porch swing with a latte and a great book? We know, it’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it and the Literary Duck team is ready and willing. Here are some of our favorite reads—perfect for front porch sipping.

Ten White Geese By: Gerbrand Bakker

Ten White GeeseI found, Ten White Geese, by Gerbrand Bakker, winner of the IMPAC Prize for The Twin, fascinating enough to read twice in close succession. In some way the novel reads both like an Emily Dickinson poem and a mystery with a slight Stephen King quality of menace hovering hauntingly throughout.  A woman calling herself Emelie and an Emily Dickinson scholar has fled from Amsterdam to a remote farm in Wales. Why has she run away from Amsterdam? Why won’t the young man leave and will her husband find her? The novel is rich in allusion, conciseness, presentiment, and the slow revealing of motives as Bakker juxtaposes Dickinsonian poetic nuggets with what may be going on in the mind of a woman with hidden purpose. The reader is enveloped in the mystery, beauty of nature and compassion that are revealed as Emilie works toward that purpose. If you like a novel with a bent toward the literary, that provokes thought, finds meaning in the smallest details, and is [...]
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April Staff Favorites

Book heart w/ flower

Here at the Literary Duck, we’re always happy to talk about what we’ve been reading…

Life After LifeLife After Life By: Kate Atkinson

Kate Atkinson has written an exceptionally fine novel in Life After Life. The device she uses to add an extra challenge to the story is to have her narrator die a number of times—and go back to the beginning and live her life over again, armed with just enough knowledge and/or luck to avoid what had previously killed her. As her lives add up, the reader is taken on a journey (with several forks in the road) through World War II Britain, including time as an air warden during the London Blitz.  As Ursula (the narrator) survives longer, she grows smarter, more interesting and a whole lot less passive than the proper child and woman she begins life as.  Highest recommendation for this smart and compelling read.  I can’t wait for the discussion in my book club on this one! – Andy

Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk Please Kill MeBy: Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain

This is the definitive oral history of the punk era. There are some great revelations that will change the way you think about the albums you’ve always loved. From Lou Reed’s electro-shock therapy, to the origins of the word ‘punk’, to Iggy Pop crashing a semi truck under a bridge in Detroit, to the [...]
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March Staff Favorites

IStock March Staff Faves

The Literary Duck staff has been reading like crazy and we have some great recommendations!

Ordinary Grace By: William Kent Krueger

Ordinary GraceIn some ways, this excellent novel reminded me of an up-dated version of To Kill a Mockingbird—only told from the point of view of the 13-year-old son of a small-town minister in Minnesota, and focusing on the moral and emotional effects on the boy and his family when someone is murdered. Much more than a whodunit, the deft development of the characters as they face the consequences of the choices they make will keep you thinking for days—and make you want to join a book club so you can talk to someone about it. – Andy


Me and Mr. Booker By: Cory Taylor

Martha is 16, precocious enough to want the adult world but too naive to realize what she’s getting herself into when the Me and Mr. BookerBookers come to her small Australian college town. The Bookers are English, erudite and charming enough to mask the fact that they’re usually drunk. They adopt Martha as a surrogate daughter, dazzling her with worldliness and helping her escape a troubled home and a dull teenage existence. However, the Bookers (and their marriage) are deeply troubled, and when Mr. Booker, a film instructor at the local college, makes sexual advances on Martha, they begin an affair that is scandalous and heartbreaking. Sexual but never exploitive, Me [...]
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