Mysteries
Dorothy Sayers Complete Short Stories
by Dorothy Sayers
Does it get any better than this? No, of course not. We’ve got Lord Peter, and Bunter, and even Pickled Gherkin, showing up in story after story after story. It’s positively glorious. The volume also contains some non-Lord Peter work by Sayers, which is also very good. In fact, about their only shortcoming is that they lack Lord Peter. If you’re a Sayers fan, definitely pick this up.
Thrones, Dominations
by Jill Walsh Patton
Okay, yes, I love Lord Peter enough that I just had to read this, because eleven novels and goodness how many short stories just wasn’t enough. Patton does a fair job of imitating Sayers, but it’s not as satisfying as the originals.
Busman’s Honeymoon by Dorothy Sayers
Lord Peter and Harriet are on their honeymoon, and Bunter’s just found a body in their beer cellar. This shouldn’t surprise us by now, of course. A great read, but surprisingly sad at the end. I nearly cried, and I don’t cry over Wimsey novels. Highly recommended.
The Divine Sacrifice by Tony Hays
For those who like mysteries and King Arthur, Hays had the novel idea of combining the two in this Arthurian mystery. It’s not the best in either genre, but an enjoyable read nonetheless.
The Nine Tailors by Dorothy Sayers
An interesting mystery, a tad wordy, but very good. Not Sayers’ best, but certainly high on the list.
Whose Body? by Dorothy Sayers
Like most of Sayers’ Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries, this was is by turns serious and whimsical. Whose Body is the first in the series and it’s a good book to start with. It also develops Lord Peter’s character rather more than many of the other books, which was welcome, as I’ve felt that sometimes he’s just a little too cavalier about life.
Murder Must Advertise by Dorothy Sayers
I enjoyed this Lord Peter Wimsey mystery quite a bit. Lord Peter, in fact, gets a job, which is utterly amusing in itself. Throw in dastardly publicists, suspicious scarabs, and heated cricket matches, and you’ve got laugh-out-loud adventure.
Clouds of Witnesses by Dorothy Sayers
The Duke of Denver is accused of murdering his sister’s fiance, said sister is lying through her teeth, the entire House of Lords is assembled to judge Denver, and it’s up to Lord Peter to extract his dearest brother from the whole mess. Which he does with vintage Wimsey flair.
Unnatural Death by Dorothy Sayers
In fine form, Wimsey tackles a suspicious death that occurred several years earlier and that may or may not have been murder. Then as he investigates, other deaths begin to appear, which also may or may not be murder. An interesting read, although I managed figure out the mystery before it was revealed. Since I’m probably about the worst literary detective in the world, that probably means the mystery wasn’t all that mysterious, although I did enjoy reading it.
Father Brown: The Essential Tales by G.K. Chesterton
I’ve heard a lot about Chesterton, and a lot of good things about his Father Brown books, but I didn’t think much of it. Only a couple of the stories were interesting.
Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers
Another rolicking Sayers mystery, this one set on the stately grounds of Oxford University. Not my favorite, probably because the main character is Harriet Vane, rather than Peter Wimsey. I was rather disappointed that he didn’t show up until a couple hundred pages in. Still, taken for what it is (an non-Wimsey-centric mystery), it’s a good, enjoyable book.
A Red Herring Without Mustard by Alan Bradley
I don’t think I’ve reviewed any Flavia de Luce mysteries on this site. I probably should because the books certainly deserve. Witty, charming, with a liberal dose of English countryside and an engaging eleven-year-old protagonist, it’s hard to go wrong with these books.
Have His Carcase by Dorothy Sayers
Another Lord Peter Wimsey novel, in this one Harriet Vane finds a body on the beach. Absolutely marvelous.
Science Fiction/Fantasy
The Lost Gate by Orson Scott Card
Like most of Card’s work, I thoroughly enjoyed this one. In fact, it may be on my list of favorites. Imagine combining Harry Potter and Percy Jackson with a healthy helping of Card’s experience and finesse as a writer, creating a story far more nuanced and engaging than either of these two characters’.
Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
There are, I suppose, four reasons for reading this book. 1.) You’re a wannabe Druid. 2.) You’re a feminist (or a feminist wannabe Druid). 3.) You compulsively read books over 800 pages. 4.) You’re an obsessively thorough Arthurian nut who needs to read the book that birthed so many imitators. And I’m not sure how compelling the fourth reason is.
War in Heaven by Charles Williams
Mildly interesting, perhaps compelling for die-hard Inklings fans, but unless you eagerly devoured Descent into Hell and Many Dimensions or are just one of those people who feel obligated to read every Grail Quest book ever written, this book probably isn’t for you.
The Skin Map by Stephen R. Lawhead
If you’re a Neil Gaiman fan who finds time travel, interdimensional chases, and ley lines appealing, you’ll probably like this book. If you don’t fall into that category, I’d recommend you pick up one of Lawhead’s other books instead, Taliesin (if you like King Arthur) or Hood (if Robin Hood’s more your thing).
The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
Interesting, slightly creepy, faintly reminiscent of Celtic mythology, this a book for those who enjoy peeling back layers of revelation on All Hallows’ Eve by the light of a flashlight. Or of a flickering candle.
Stonefather by Orson Scott Card
If you don’t know what a mithermage is, this probably isn’t the book for you. It’s a slightly obscure sort of companion book to The Lost Gate. But if you’re fanatic Card fan, definitely check out this novella. Then again, if you’re a fanatic Card fan, you’ve probably already read it.
Thrillers/Horror
Pet Sematary by Stephen King
Interesting, but nothing to write home about. Dark and certainly not recommended for those easily disturbed, but predictable. If you’re a King fan, you might pick this one up. Otherwise, better let it lie.
Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King
Possibly the most depressing book I’ve ever read. I can’t think of any circumstances under which reading this book would be an enjoyable or profitable experience. Well-written, yes, and gripping, but everyone’s a murderer. There’s just no nobility, redemption, or even decency.
Immanuel’s Veins by Ted Dekker
A Christian thriller set in eighteenth-century vampire-ridden Moldavia, see here for a more in-depth review.
Bag of Bones by Stephen King
Interesting, not my favorite of his, but manages to be both moving and creepy. Standard King warning, of course: dark and R-rated.
We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
Written by the author of the short story ‘Lottery’ (and if you haven’t read that one, you missed out in high school English) and almost as eerie.
The Priest’s Graveyard by Ted Dekker
I’m a huge Dekker fan, so don’t get me wrong, but to be honest this wasn’t his best work. I enjoyed it, but it was rather too dark and disturbing (I found myself thinking of “Law-Abiding Citizen” at times), and I don’t think the ending was as satisfying as it could have been.
Miscellaneous Fiction
The Bird in the Tree by Elizabeth Goudge
Sentimental and set in a rambling English background, this book certainly has more to please the Pride and Prejudice or Elsie Dinsmore crowd than anyone else. I liked it.
Arthur Rex by Thomas Berger
Meant to be a parody of King Arthur, this book mostly succeeds, albeit with some dry stretches and meaty servings of crass/irreverent humor.
The Final Summit by Andy Andrews
An interesting book, see here for an in-depth review.
The Man in the Iron Mask by Alexandre Dumas
Not as good as The Three Musketeers, in my opinion, but sequels rarely are. The title is misleading, since it’s not about the man in the iron mask, and it’s also a more serious political work than the first book, so it wasn’t what I’d expected. If you loved The Three Musketeers, I’d recommend this one. If not, however, you might want to give this one a pass.
Right Ho, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse
I read once that Wodehouse died penniless and unhappy. While reading this book, I thought to myself, “If I died at this very minute, I too would die penniless and unhappy.” Can’t say I’d recommend, unless you love Wodehouse. In which case I’m sure you’ve already read this book.
King Solomon’s Mines by H. Rider Haggard
It’s a classic, but I’m not sure why. The adventure isn’t very adventurous, the drama isn’t dramatic, and it’s kind of racist to boot.
History
Resistance and Betrayal by Patrick Marnham

This is a biography of Jean Moulin, an iconic figure in the French resistance whom you may be unfamiliar with if you're not French. His life is fascinating and Marnham is a good writer, although he's not completely unbiased, and I feel he advances his own theories on the mystery surrounding Moulin's death over providing an unbiased view. Still, I'd recommend it.
Lost Hero: The Mystery of Raoul Wallenberg by Frederick E. Werbell and Thurston Clarke

A fascinating and well-written account of Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, who just about singlehandedly saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of Jews in Hungary during World War II.
Behind Enemy Lines by Marthe Cohn
A fascinating autobiography of a French-Jewish spy during World War II.
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to World War II by Mitchell Geoffrey Bard
A great overview of the war, it's causes, and results. A pretty brief and easy read.
In the Shadows of War: An American Pilot’s Odyssey Through Occupied France and the Camps of Nazi Germany by Thomas Childers
Fascinating nonfiction account of an American pilot and two French resistance fighters during World War II. Highly recommended for those interested in that period.
Galileo by Mitch Stokes
See here for an in-depth review.
How the Irish Saved Civilization by Thomas Cahill
A fascinating read, particularly for those who love history, Western Civilization, or Ireland. Cahill makes the argument that it was the Irish monasteries who preserved Latin literature and learning after the fall of Rome.
Miscellaneous Nonfiction
Ah-Choo: The Uncommon Life of Your Common Cold by Jennifer Ackerman
Interesting, sometimes witty, and rather gross, this book is for those of you who don't shudder when you think of all the bacteria that lives in and on you. Trying to lose weight? If you somehow managed to rid yourself of all your bacteria, you'd shed two to five pounds. If you found that little factoid interesting, you'd probably like this book.

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