The Impossible (to put down) Knife of Memory

Cover art for The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

Get this book. Read it now.

I have a bit of a problem. The problem is that I think that I have some super power that allows me to read multiple books at once.

In some ways, I can. I usually have a minimum of two or three books going simultaneously: One or two for work, one or two for pleasure. Multiple books means that I have choices depending on my mood, and depending on whether I’m allowing my workaholic-ness to extend past 10pm.

The problem is that two or three books quickly multiplies into six, then eight, then a dozen books. I have no less than ten books on my nightstand right now–all in various stages of being read. And yes: I do plan on finishing them all.

So part of me knew, when I began re-reading the classics for fun, that I was being unrealistic. The chances that I would cruise, uninterrupted, through Of Mice and Men, blogging gamely all the way, were slim to none. Still, I told myself it would be different this time. I told myself that once I got sucked into these stories, they would be too hard to put down.

And then the mail arrived, and I got my copy of Laurie Halse Anderson’s new YA novel, The Impossible Knife of Memory. The world stopped. Of Mice and Men? Um…yeah, what’s that again?

So I’ll be getting back to Steinbeck. I really am enjoying the quiet tragedy of the American dream, played out in the lives of George and Lennie. But for tonight, and this weekend, I’m with Hayley and her broken father and her OMGCANHEBEMINE? boyfriend in Anderson’s heartbreaking new book.

I’d write more, maybe urge you to get a copy for yourself ASAP, but…did I mention I’m in the middle of reading?

Of Mice and Men(sch)

Ask the Recap logo

Sometimes, synchronicity happens. Sometimes you’re reading a book for fun, and a desperate teenager writes to you, because the book is giving them fits. I’ll be back with Of Mice and Men chapters three and four tomorrow, but for today, I leave you with my response to one very distressed teen. What can I say? […]

Continue reading...

Of Mice and Men…and beans

Friendships are forged over cans of baked beans. Well, some are forged, and some are rekindled. In George and Lennie’s last little piece of Paradise in Chapter One of Of Mice and Men, the two friends sure up the bonds of brotherhood over cans of beans: “[George] drove his knife through the top of one […]

Continue reading...

Of Mice and Men: Chapters One and Two

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

I cheated a little. I cheated a little on this first book in my quest to blog—and read—the classics for fun by picking Steinbeck. I’ve never read Steinbeck for fun, but if there were an author in the canon I’d read for fun, Steinbeck would be my guy. The man writes like an angel. OK, […]

Continue reading...

Blogging the Classics: An Introduction

Cover art for Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

There’s something I haven’t told you. It’s embarrassing, really. For four-and-a-half years, as the face of, I’ve smiled and pretended that it hasn’t been true. But it is true, so here’s the shameful and well-hidden truth: Though I’ve read thousands of books, I’ve never read a single piece of classic literature for fun. All […]

Continue reading...

This Week’s Favorite: The Scarlet Letter

Four years ago, when debuted, I was coming out of a fog of re-reading a dozen or so classics to launch our library of classics videos. Among them was Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter. Like the other titles I recapped for our library, I felt I had a nuanced understanding of the novel. But […]

Continue reading...

This Week’s Favorite: Get Lucky

It’s still a sad season for middle grade and YA fiction. Partly, it’s me. With all the work on the redesign of—which is LIVE, by the way, so check it out if you haven’t yet—I’ve had very little time to think about anything else. I’ve dipped into a few books, sure, but nothing that’s […]

Continue reading...

We’re SO Close!

New site design coming soon

Right now, I’m obsessed with one thing: Finishing the redesign of For months, we’ve labored to upgrade our site–not just to move it to a new platform, but also to update the design, expand our editorial offerings, and just make it better, cooler, more helpful…because we love you! (OK, and yes, because we  want […]

Continue reading...


Distance swimmer Diana Nyad didn’t realize her dream of swimming from Havana, Cuba to Key West when she made her first attempt as a 20-something swimmer in 1978. She failed again (twice) in 2011, and again in 2012. But take one glance at this afternoon’s jubilant headline from CNN, and Nyad’s enduring legacy is clear: […]

Continue reading...

I haven’t forgotten about you.

Really, I haven’t. It’s just that I’ve been a wee bit busy working on that pile of pages over there and haven’t found myself with a lot of words to spare. In the meantime, though, I wanted to leave you with a few links to brighten your mid-week. Well, not just links: obsessions. I just […]

Continue reading...