Book of the Month: Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo (2019)

2020-05-19T14:51:30-04:00

Book of the Month: Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo (2019) Critical Evaluation "When a writer sets a fantasy novel in our dusty old real world, the general approach is: “Everything cruddy just like it is now, except, also magic!” The intrusion of magic is then generally used to make sense of inexplicable or terrible things in our world, for example, why the stock market does stuff. And cancer. It also is used to explain the sadness that young people feel. If only there were an enormous secret lurking just out of sight, providing meaning and conveying specialness upon the knower. … [...]

Book of the Month: Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo (2019)2020-05-19T14:51:30-04:00

Book of the Month: In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez (1994)

2020-05-19T16:09:04-04:00

Book of the Month: In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez (1994) Critical Evaluation "Julia Alvarez’s shimmering second novel, “In the Time of the Butterflies,” is based on the real story of the four Mirabal sisters of the Dominican Republic, known there as Las Mariposas , the butterflies. That was their code name in the underground opposition to dictator Rafael Leonidas Trujillo, and on Nov. 25, 1960, Trujillo agents murdered three of the sisters, the ones who had become national symbols of resistance. The fourth sister, Dede, survived, and Alvarez begins to tell their story in Dede’s tired, exasperated voice [...]

Book of the Month: In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez (1994)2020-05-19T16:09:04-04:00

Book of the Month: Bel Canto by Ann Patchett (2008)

2020-05-14T13:55:56-04:00

Book of the Month: Bel Canto by Ann Patchett (2008) Critical Evaluation "One of the delightful things about the way ''Bel Canto'' unfolds is the way Ann Patchett uses the ordeal of entrapment to locate unexpected resources in her characters, like Roxane's new leadership potential. Another surprising quality to emerge, in a book that works both as a paean to art and beauty and a subtly sly comedy of manners, is the flair that the host shows for running the household, once he realizes that being taken hostage has ruined his political career. ''With a dish towel knotted around his waist, [...]

Book of the Month: Bel Canto by Ann Patchett (2008)2020-05-14T13:55:56-04:00

Book of the Month: Writers and Lovers by Lily King (2020)

2020-05-12T13:12:53-04:00

Book of the Month: Writers and Lovers by Lily King (2020)   Critical Evaluation "Please don’t do this. Don’t write a novel about trying to write a novel. It’s cliche and insular and lazy. Just don’t do it. Unless it’s this novel — this wonderful, witty, heartfelt novel by Lily King titled “Writers & Lovers.” Charles, Ron, “Lily King’s ‘Writers & Lovers’ delivers pure joy" The Washington Post, March 4, 2020       First Excerpt “I have a pact with myself not to think about money in the morning,” she says. “I’m like a teenager trying not to think about [...]

Book of the Month: Writers and Lovers by Lily King (2020)2020-05-12T13:12:53-04:00

Book of the Month: War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (1865)

2020-05-12T12:56:59-04:00

Book of the Month: War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (1865) Critical Evaluation "1 People change. The characters in War and Peace endure extreme experiences, and emerge at the end as quite different people. The miracle of the book is that the Natasha who falls in love with anyone and everyone in the ballrooms of the opening is recognisably the same woman who withdraws from society at the end. 2 There is no hero and no heroine. This is the story of a group of people living within a society. Andrei Bolkonsky is not Tolstoy’s hero, and Natasha is not a romantic heroine. [...]

Book of the Month: War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (1865)2020-05-12T12:56:59-04:00

Book of the Month: Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson (2019)

2020-04-14T13:39:22-04:00

Book of the Month: Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson (2019)   Critical Evaluation "Temper tantrums and meltdowns. They're a bane of parenting. Often at the most inconvenient moment possible, your kid — tired, hungry, beyond reason — just loses it. And it's your job to keep your cool and calm them down. After all, you're the grownup. Well, here's cold comfort: It could be worse. In Kevin Wilson's third novel, Nothing to See Here, kids spontaneously combust — literally — when angered or upset. Their flareups don't cause injury to themselves, but they can be seriously damaging to people and property [...]

Book of the Month: Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson (2019)2020-04-14T13:39:22-04:00

Book of the Month: There There by Tommy Orange (2018)

2020-03-31T15:12:12-04:00

Book of the Month: There There by Tommy Orange (2018) Critical Evaluation "The title of Tommy Orange’s bold debut novel is a reference to Gertrude Stein’s line about the city of her childhood, Oakland, California: “there is no there there”, she wrote. Oakland happens also to be Orange’s home town and provides the setting for the book, which has attracted many admiring reviews in the US. The novel centres on the interconnected lives of a group of Native Americans – or Indians, as they call themselves, determined to reclaim a term more often used disparagingly. Orange, himself a member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho [...]

Book of the Month: There There by Tommy Orange (2018)2020-03-31T15:12:12-04:00

Book of the Month: Educated by Tara Westover (2018)

2020-05-12T12:52:12-04:00

Book of the Month: Educated by Tara Westover (2018) Critical Evaluation "This story, remarkable as it is, might be merely another entry in the subgenre of extreme American life, were it not for the uncommon perceptiveness of the person telling it. Westover examines her childhood with unsparing clarity, and, more startlingly, with curiosity and love, even for those who have seriously failed or wronged her. In part, this is a book about being a stranger in a strange land; Westover, adrift at university, can’t help but miss her mountain home. But her deeper subject is memory. Westover is careful to note [...]

Book of the Month: Educated by Tara Westover (2018)2020-05-12T12:52:12-04:00

Book of the Month: Little Weirds by Jenny Slate (2019)

2020-05-12T12:54:19-04:00

Book of the Month: Little Weirds by Jenny Slate (2019) Critical Evaluation The only piece of fiction in Jenny Slate’s new book, “Little Weirds,” describes a love that grew old in an un-air-conditioned house by the Atlantic Ocean. “I was trying to say goodbye to my ex-husband, who is an important person in my life and a friend,” the actress and comedian said of the story, “I Died: Bronze Tree.” After her divorce from the director Dean Fleischer-Camp in 2016, she heard that sometimes, as a healing exercise, trauma survivors reimagine painful experiences. “I decided to [...]

Book of the Month: Little Weirds by Jenny Slate (2019)2020-05-12T12:54:19-04:00

Book of the Month: How We Fight for Our Lives by Saeed Jones (2019)

2020-05-14T14:07:16-04:00

Book of the Month: How We Fight for Our Lives (2019) by Saeed Jones Critical Evaluation How We Fight for Our Lives is a new memoir by Saeed Jones, an award-winning poet and a former BuzzFeed editor, who grew up black, gay, and Southern in the nineties and early two-thousands. The title previews the book’s tone and also its content: urgent, immediate, matter of fact. Jones writes of his mother and her heart condition, and of physical assault, economic hardship, and the floating threat of violence that men like him face. His title carries an edge of social critique. [...]

Book of the Month: How We Fight for Our Lives by Saeed Jones (2019)2020-05-14T14:07:16-04:00
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