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Archive By Author - Alison Reeger Cook


Off the Shelves: Reading as punishment: Is the written word that reviled?

A few odd news articles have come to my attention lately: A California man convicted of attempting to sell a grenade launcher to an undercover federal agent was sentenced to write a book report; a Brazilian prison has offered to reduce prison sentences of inmates for reading books; and a woman in South Carolina is given the penance of reading the Bible after being convicted of injuring two people while driving drunk.

July 15, 2012 | Alison Reeger Cook | Columnists


Off the Shelves: Famous chef dishes up an inspiring memoir

Recently, I was having a conversation about people who, when they don't manage to achieve their goals when they originally expected to, tend to heap the blame on external factors.

July 01, 2012 | Alison Reeger Cook | Columnists


Off the Shelves: Transformative tale about a father and child

Coming up on this Father's Day, I found myself thinking about the relationship between fathers and daughters, and sometimes I wonder exactly what my own father has expected from me during the course of my life.

June 17, 2012 | Alison Reeger Cook | Columnists


Off the Shelves: Literary merit vs. popularity — why can’t books have both?

Over the past few weeks when I worked at the bookstore, about the only book people have been buying (or ordering, as the store continuously sells out of it) is "Fifty Shades of Grey" by E.L. James, an erotic novel about a young woman in a sensual love affair with a wealthy and handsome billionaire.

June 03, 2012 | Alison Reeger Cook | Columnists


Off the Shelves: 'Age of Miracles' offers an original premise and strong storytelling

Why is it that so many authors and filmmakers love to depict deteriorating futures in which our daily lives become worse and worse? And why are we so entertained by franchises that promote these themes?

May 20, 2012 | Alison Reeger Cook | Columnists


Off the Shelves: ‘Name of the Wind’ is long-winded and short of satisfaction

The first book in Rothfuss' "The Kingkiller Chronicle" and also his debut novel, "The Name of the Wind," sets the stage for the life-epic of the enigmatic Kvothe, who at the start of the novel is an innkeeper living a secluded life in a quiet town.

May 06, 2012 | Alison Reeger Cook | Columnists


Off the Shelves: Celebrate Earth Day with 5 classic reads

Since this week's Off the Shelves review coincides with Earth Day, I was reminded of some of the books that taught me the importance of living in harmony with Mother Earth.

April 22, 2012 | Alison Reeger Cook | Columnists


Off the Shelves: ‘Horten’s Miraculous Mechanisms’ malfunctions throughout

I often wonder if it is right for me, as an adult, to review a novel intended for children. The adult brain can be too demanding, or too scrutinizing of a novel that is simply meant to be fun, which is truly all a young reader would care about.

April 08, 2012 | Alison Reeger Cook | Columnists


Off the Shelves: ‘Given Day’ is a powerful story of American history

Back in 2003, Dennis Lehane, author of "Mystic River" and "Shutter Island," spun a beautiful narrative with an engrossing voice. He captures the era of 1917 with such vividness and atmosphere that you do not feel so much as if you have been transported to another time, but that you have been a part of that time and history.

March 25, 2012 | Alison Reeger Cook | Columnists


Off the Shelves: ‘Chomp’ entertains, but doesn’t have much bite

Florida has served to be the backdrop for many of the most bizarre adventures in the realm of literary fiction, including two of my favorite: "Swamplandia!" by Karen Russell and Tim Dorsey's "Pineapple Grenade."

March 11, 2012 | Alison Reeger Cook | Columnists


Off the Shelves: Get ready for a gripping game of survival in ‘Ready Player One’

With the progressive dependence on what computers and electronics do for us - in business, recreational and social interactive aspects - the novel I read this week came across as bone-shiveringly plausible.

February 26, 2012 | Alison Reeger Cook | Columnists


Off the Shelves: Return to Miami madness in Dorsey’s 'Pineapple Grenade'

A few months ago, I reviewed Tim Dorsey's criminally entertaining novel "When Elves Attack," a Christmas caper that featured some of the most gruesome, and laugh-out-loud hysterical murders that I have ever read.

February 12, 2012 | Alison Reeger Cook | Columnists


'I'm not Her' a tender teenage tale

As much as I hate to admit there is a genre of literature that often gets under my skin, modern teen fiction is it (I refuse to acknowledge anything involving sparkly vampires and relationship-sadistic girls).

January 29, 2012 | Alison Reeger Cook | Columnists


‘Thirteenth Tale’ inspires fiction debate

This week's book review is a little different from what I normally do. Lately, I have been reviewing either new releases, or sharing my lists of favorites in a particular theme.

January 15, 2012 | Alison Reeger Cook | Columnists


Off the Shelves: ‘Hallows’ fails at being a truly unique fantasy

In the newly released "The Thirteen Hallows," a collaboration between the "Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel" series author Michael Scott and award-winning playwright Colette Freedman, the novel's heroine is 21-year-old introvert Sarah Miller.

January 01, 2012 | Alison Reeger Cook | Columnists


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