While I love discovering new, or new to me, authors, there is something reassuring about picking up a novel by Elmore Leonard. His books are always fast paced and satisfying. I’m reading Djibouti now and enjoying every page. Leonard and many other writers give their rules for writing in this Guardian article. One of Leonard’s rules is never use the phrase “all hell broke loose” but he uses it himself, on the first page of Chapter 14 in Djibouti. I guess all rules are meant to be broken.

As a family, we just finished Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. We’ve read it aloud three times now, and listened to the audio version once. My son, who is obsessed with all things magic, has taken to carrying a large wand at all times. Also, and a bit disturbingly, he has been drawing the dark mark on his arm with camouflage body paint. If he weren’t six, and so kind that he carefully removes bugs to the outdoors so they can live a full life, I would be concerned. (My oldest daughter briefly considered having the dark mark tattooed on her arm. Permanently tattooed. Luckily, she grew out of that.) Holes, by Louis Sachar, is our next family book. My husband and I decided to move away from the fantasy genre before any of the kids permanently disfigure themselves.