User Profile

t o d d w a r n e r

Joined 1 year, 7 months ago

I farm. I write. I am. I hope to be.

— "The road to hell is paved with works-in-progress." —Philip Roth

My favorite books:

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t o d d w a r n e r's books

Paul Lynch: Prophet Song (Hardcover, 2023, Oneworld Publications) 5 stars

On a dark, wet evening in Dublin, scientist and mother-of-four Eilish Stack answers her front …

blown away by this fever dream

5 stars


It took me a minute to sink into the third person present PoV and the lack of paragraphs and dialogue marks and the certain Irishness of the prose. And then ... suddenly … I found myself swept away by this fevered dream of a mother struggling to scrape out a bit of sanity in an insane and tragic world, mama-bearing her way through as best she can.


You have never read a story like this and will never again. I highly, highly recommend this.


Oh, by the way, this won the Booker Prize in 2023.

Jayne Anne Phillips: Night Watch (Hardcover, Knopf) 4 stars

From one of our most accomplished novelists, a mesmerizing story about a mother and daughter …

It won the Pulitzer. I can see why. The prose is spectacular. Night Watch is a story of how trauma is experienced in so many ways and how, in the end, we cope. This book was a four star for until the wrap up. SPOILER? It felt like the author struggled and … forced THE ending. Otherwise, an impressively created story.

Steve Cushman: Fracture City (Paperback, Main Street Rag) 5 stars

A collection of short stories.

Thoughtful. thought-provoking, and heartfelt

5 stars

"The night was loud with frogs and cicadas competing for space."

That line from this volume is, perhaps, an apropos characterization of the swirling thoughts, feelings, and conflicted actions and intentions that then highlight the beats of our lives.

I love a good short story collection and this one did not disappoint. Cushman writes with such earnestness. He writes with a yearning for understanding and meaning in a crazy world of relationships forged by serendipity and an effort to make it all work.

Hananah Zaheer: Lovebirds (2021, Bull City Press) 5 stars

Lives laid bare …

5 stars

"Our books became ash, then dust, years ago. The girl looks a little younger than my son, maybe ten, not old enough to remember books, schools, our lives before this life. I can hardly remember what came before. Before hurts so bad it's not even a memory."

This short story collection is bold. Penetrating. Each story a story of lives laid bare. So stunningly well written.

Alan Gratz: Ban this book (2017) 5 stars

"A fourth grader fights back when From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler …

kids band together to push back on idiocracy

5 stars

Banned in a Florida school on 5/20/2024. I immediately purchased it. Of course.

Excellent middle grade novel about students finding their strength and learning a harsh lesson about the real world and the awful (and not so awful) people who fill it.

The characters are vibrant and relatable and the author teases out a narrative that is so creative and nuanced. I am forever impressed when authors reach deep and somehow find their childhood voice so effectively.

This book touches upon a host of thoughtful topics and I can't recommend it enough.

David Grann: The Wager (EBook, 2022, Doubleday) 4 stars

On January 28, 1742, a ramshackle vessel of patched-together wood and cloth washed up on …

a stunning account

4 stars

An incredible account from the author of Killers of a Flower Moon. I'm in awe of the work required to collate and then articulate this story almost as much as the events themselves.

The Wager is a harrowing tale of perseverance, discipline, brutality, hubris, and survival that illustrates and brings to life humanity at its extremes.