Samantha Leigh Miller

writer, reader, teacher

All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr

Once a year I travel to a church about a half hour from my house and watch over 3rd or 4th or 8th graders as they sweat and squirm through a Pennsylvania state standardized test.  As a cyber teacher, it’s one of the few times during the year I see my students in person.  I’ve […]

The Signature of All Things, by Elizabeth Gilbert

Before beginning this post, I searched the house for my copy of Eat, Pray, Love.  I thought it would be interesting to compare the writing style between the books, since I thought I remembered that Gilbert sounds like a more serious Mindy Kaling in the former (have you read Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? […]

Euphoria, by Lily King

In one of the multiverses (and now I’m betraying my begrudging enjoyment those movies), I would have definitely lived the life of Margaret Mead.  She was born in Philadelphia, close to where I grew up, went to school at Columbia, where my father did, and traveled to foreign lands to learn about cultures and peoples […]

The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak

When Death tells you a story, you have to listen.  Especially when Death is also a poet and stuck in a dead-end job from which he can never take a vacation.  The story Death tells might be set in Nazi Germany and it might be about a little girl named Liesel who’s lost her brother […]

Year of Wonders, by Geraldine Brooks

Having lived through a plague (“lived”? Past tense? Please?) you’d think delving into the world of 1666 London during a wave of the Black Death would be the last thing we need, but no!  It’s exactly the sort of catharsis many of us need.  I read the novel a few years ago and was swept […]

Orphan Train Girl, by Christina Baker Kline

This book opened the door to historical fiction for me, and I’m never looking back.  It might be the laziness in me, but I genuinely enjoy learning about the past through fictional stories.  The Maine setting is a bonus, as I’ve never been, but always hoped to, and now feel as if I have.  The […]

The Help, by Kathryn Stockett

Everyone has recommended this book, but I will too, since popularity doesn’t always negate worth.  And this is a worthy book—for its characters, its time period, and for its ability to paint such an utterly human portrait of complex relationships.  Selfishly, I’m always curious and eager to learn from writers who write characters from outside […]

Little Altars Everywhere, by Rebecca Wells

Read this one for the voice alone.  Sidda lived in my head for a little while as she led me through this story.  I’m in awe of a writer who can create a character so alive you feel her breathing in the room with you as you read. Didn’t continue with the rest of the […]