melville house logo​And now I’ve come upon another, this time American—Melville House. Melville House has the brilliant idea that the classics are still valuable today and should be read, and have reprinted those neglected authors in some very attractive and affordable paperback editions (The Neversink Library and The Art of the Novella are two series devoted to the classics). They also publish new authors and experiment in all genres.​ I am a proponent of small houses because it saves the time of me the reader. If a publishing house has a vision and is selective about what they choose to publish, the chances of my reading experience being a favorable one increase. Here's to thoughtful publishing!

cover image of complete mausI was not a reader of comics as a child or teen, with the exception of the funnies in the paper. My first formal introduction to the format was Maus I and Maus II by Art Spiegelman in a college class. I remember it being a challenge to follow the illustrations and felt it a distraction from the words. And I am a words girl. Then I watched Persepolis. It was so beautifully done it made me want to read the book by Marjane Satrapi. cover image of complete persepolis

This is her memoir of growing up in the midst of the Iranian revolution. I realized that perhaps I should reevaluate my stance on comics and begin reading more. I stumbled upon Lucy Knisley, who combines food and travel and includes real snapshots and recipes. And then the funny, I shouldn’t be laughing at this because it’s about aging and death and depression but I am, ones like those by Allie Brosh and Roz Chast. I've found I like mostly memoirs. I like them because of the voyeuristic aspect and because they go so quickly. I can read a book in one sitting and sometimes that's just what I feel like doing. So if you’re like me and a bit hesitant to venture into graphic territory, take a look at this list and see if there’s something there to make the transition a smoother one.

Thrillers and series are not exactly my thing, but I was swayed by the common themes in The Expats and The Accident by Chris Pavone: who can you trust and what happens when secrets are revealed, as they always are…

cover image of the expats


Imagine yourself keeping secrets from your spouse. Now imagine that secret was in fact your day job. Makes things a bit more complicated right? Consider that while you have been lying to your husband about how you earn a living, perhaps he has been hiding some things from you as well? Now take the setting out of the USA and make it some rainy European city like Luxembourg or Paris. Still with me?

Once that mess has been settled, you make a brief appearance in another story (but only figure in it as a minor character). The main players in this one? An author, a publisher, and a who's hunting who scenario.

cover image of the accident

I was hooked on audio for both of these. Normally I drift peacefully off to sleep while listening, but I found myself still awake at the end of the disc and getting up to put in the next one. So much for my relaxing bedtime ritual. No need to read them in order, they stand alone.


I judged a book by its cover.
The cover is fantastic—I mean look at it.



It was screaming for me to pick it up and then, well that’s a coincidence, the author’s name is Ned Beauman. Could it be? Why yes. This is the son of Nicola Beauman, founder of Persephone Books Ltd.—and we all know how I feel about Persephone Books.

Ned, I congratulate you on the stunning representation of L.A.

"The whole city felt like an apartment for sale, which the estate agent had sprayed with perfume just prior to a viewing."

and the many other, equally unique sentences that I wanted to copy down and pin to my wall. However, I could have done without reading the whole of the book. 

Can someone please just put together a book of collected witticisms by Ned Beauman and call it good?

Want a list of more book covers that are better than the books? Try this.


Machu Picchu is what dreams are made of, at least one of mine anyway. Long had I wanted to visit this magical place, immerse myself in the colorful textiles and culture. I went expecting much, and I returned not disappointed. The food, people, landscape, Incan ruins—all of it was incredible. 

Things I knew how to say in Spanish before I left:  *hiking haunya pichu*Hello my name is Heather. Where are the toilets? Thank you.
Things I learned in Spanish while there: Una mas pisco sour por favor.                                                                                                                     
Things I thought I knew but actually didn't: Paddington Bear is not an English Bear. He is from deepest darkest Peru.                                             

I can't explain this long held fascination I have with Peru anymore than I can my proclivity for Hercule Poirot, or travelling with a stuffed panda.    I just do.                                                                                              

If you are curious about Peru or Machu Picchu specifically, I've put together a little reading list that should transport you, without actually having to wait around in an airport for fourteen hours only to have your flight canceled and then be air sick. Ah, the joys of travel.



*By the way, that mountain in the background, that's Huayna Picchu. And that is me climbing it!*  
**Also the sneakers in photo of the weaver belong to mi hermano y hermana.**