Samantha Leigh Miller

writer, reader, teacher

The Dictionary of Lost Words, by Pip Williams

I think some of us always remember the first time we’re called a “dumb b*tch.”  It happened to me at 19—stalled out in the middle of an intersection, in the driver’s seat of a car I could not drive.  The car was an ’87 Pontiac Sunbird, five-speed…manual transmission.  I had been taught to drive the […]

The Good Earth, by Pearl S. Buck

No one has time for a slow-start book anymore, which is a shame, since it’s the build in The Good Earth that makes this story so powerful.  Read the book for Wang Lung’s loveable characters, or O-lan’s frightening determination, or simply to have your eyes opened to a new way of understanding our relationship with […]

The Nightingale, by Kristin Hannah

If you’re a book snob like me, you might have passed over this one simply because EVERYONE has been talking about it.  I’m not one for hype, which is why I still haven’t forgiven Taco Bell for taking away their Mexican pizza, then bringing it back with such ridiculous fanfare.  And I still haven’t forgiven […]

The Midnight Library, by Matt Haig

I dropped out of school in 9th grade, was married at 17, and had two children by 21, so um, yes, I’ve been in Nora’s shoes and wondering what my life might look like if I’d made different choices.  Sadly, we meet Nora at the lowest point in her life—possibly the end of her life […]

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 Dance of the Dissident Daughter, by Sue Monk Kidd

Sometimes you read a book at a specific time in your life and it takes such deep root inside your mind that you continue to feel its impact long after you’ve forgotten the name of the book.  I was flipping through my little book of read books and found this title and in an instant, […]

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? […]

The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt

This is a big book, with a big story, and a big THEME.  The English teacher in me wants to dissect what Tartt has to say about “art for art’s sake” what with the painting of the goldfinch that the lead character steals from the museum in the moments after the bomb goes off and […]

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 Weight of Heaven, by Thrity Umrigar

There is a bit of a sadist in me, especially when it comes to reading material.  I can be drawn to the darkest stories, if only to vicariously experience my deepest nightmares from the safety of the page.  I read The Year of Fog to drown in the idea of my child being kidnapped, and […]