Book of the Month: Matrix by Lauren Groff (2021)

2021-11-02T13:27:08-04:00

Book of the Month: Matrix by Lauren Groff (2021) Critical Review "Perhaps the greatest pleasure of this novel is also its most subtle. Groff is a gifted writer capable of deft pyrotechnics and well up to the challenges she sets herself, including that of rendering feverish apparitions of the Virgin as recorded by a seminal poet of the Western canon. One senses she doesn’t so much struggle to create her vision but is borne aloft on it, which is the page-by-page pleasure as we soar with her. "But it’s the dogged progress of a grand life that sustains this narrative. From [...]

Book of the Month: Matrix by Lauren Groff (2021)2021-11-02T13:27:08-04:00

Book of the Month: Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr (2021)

2021-10-26T13:05:32-04:00

Book of the Month: Cloud Cuckoo Land, by Anthony Doerr (2021) Critical Evaluation “Cloud Cuckoo Land,” a follow-up to Doerr’s best-selling novel “All the Light We Cannot See,” is, among other things, a paean to the nameless people who have played a role in the transmission of ancient texts and preserved the tales they tell. But it’s also about the consolations of stories and the balm they have provided for millenniums. It’s a wildly inventive novel that teems with life, straddles an enormous range of experience and learning, and embodies the storytelling gifts that it celebrates. It also pulls off a [...]

Book of the Month: Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr (2021)2021-10-26T13:05:32-04:00

Book of the Month: The Shining by Stephen King (1977)

2021-10-26T13:03:34-04:00

Book of the Month: The Shining (1977) by Stephen King Critical Evaluation " In the novel, as in so many of King's early classics, location is all. The Overlook Hotel itself is alive; huge and vacant, with secrets hidden everywhere. Haunted bathrooms, the echoing memories of debauched parties, a topiary animal garden that seems to come to life, wasps' nests that feature a never-ending stream of hostile insects. The hotel wears its malevolence on its sleeve. It has a history of bringing power towards it, and of trying to grow by consuming that power. Jack hears the voice of the Overlook as [...]

Book of the Month: The Shining by Stephen King (1977)2021-10-26T13:03:34-04:00

Book of the Month: I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez (2017)

2021-10-26T13:06:17-04:00

Book of the Month: I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, Erika L. Sánchez (2017) Critical Evaluation "Erika L. Sánchez’s blistering book, I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, lays out a real and raw world, one with some gems and some monsters, and with everyone in the middle just trying to figure out how to live. There’s a lot of strong content here that some readers may find disturbing. Sánchez is blunt about drug use, strong language, sexual content, depression/anxiety, violence, abuse, and suicide. Julia’s many struggles are those of a hibiscus fighting to blossom in a garbage heap. This is [...]

Book of the Month: I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez (2017)2021-10-26T13:06:17-04:00

Book of the Month: I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman by Nora Ephron(2006)

2021-10-26T13:07:50-04:00

Book of the Month: I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman by Nora Ephron (2006) Critical Evaluation "The fact that she is 65 gives Ms. Ephron unavoidable subjects for contemplation: age, loss and vanity. None are automatically delightful. But she retains an uncanny ability to sound like your best friend, whoever you are, even when she is describing the death of her own best friend in a sobering piece called “Considering the Alternative.” When, in the end, she has no better way to ward off mortality than staying silky smooth by using the right bath [...]

Book of the Month: I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman by Nora Ephron(2006)2021-10-26T13:07:50-04:00

Book of the Month: Pale Horse, Pale Rider by Katherine Anne Porter (1939)

2021-05-24T16:11:40-04:00

Book of the Month: Pale Horse, Pale Rider by Katherine Anne Porter (1939) Critical Evaluation "The three short novels that make up Pale Horse, Pale Rider -- Old Mortality, Noon Wine, and the title story itself -- ask in turn the three questions that, as the critic Mark Schorer put it, humankind has always asked: What were we? What are we? What will we be? Old Morality addresses the first of these: It is a coming-of-age story about the self-deceptions that can turn a family's history into both romance and burden. Noon Wine shows how the easygoing past can be transformed in an instant into a terrible [...]

Book of the Month: Pale Horse, Pale Rider by Katherine Anne Porter (1939)2021-05-24T16:11:40-04:00

Book of the Month: The Overstory by Richard Powers (2018)

2021-05-24T15:32:14-04:00

Book of the Month: The Overstory by Richard Powers (2018) Critical Evaluation "Richard Powers is the exception, and his monumental novel “The Overstory” accomplishes what few living writers from either camp, art or science, could attempt. Using the tools of story, he pulls readers heart-first into a perspective so much longer-lived and more subtly developed than the human purview that we gain glimpses of a vast, primordial sensibility, while watching our own kind get whittled down to size. But: Birds gotta fly, fish gotta swim. People will only read stories about people, as this author knows perfectly well. “The Overstory” is [...]

Book of the Month: The Overstory by Richard Powers (2018)2021-05-24T15:32:14-04:00

Book of the Month: Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro(2021)

2021-10-26T13:08:49-04:00

Book of the Month: Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro (2021) Critical Evaluation "For four decades now, Ishiguro has written eloquently about the balancing act of remembering without succumbing irrevocably to the past. Memory and the accounting of memory, its burdens and its reconciliation, have been his subjects. With “Klara and the Sun,” I began to see how he has mastered the adjacent theme of obsolescence. What is it like to inhabit a world whose mores and ideas have passed you by? What happens to the people who must be cast aside in order for others to move forward? " Jones, [...]

Book of the Month: Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro(2021)2021-10-26T13:08:49-04:00

Book of the Month: The History of Love by Nicole Krauss (2005)

2021-05-24T15:48:18-04:00

Book of the Month: The History of Love by Nicole Krauss (2005) Critical Evaluation " More to the point, The History of Love is a significant novel, genuinely one of the year’s best. Old Leo (a new entry in the Jewish-lit canon) nurses the loss of his true love, as well as his only son—a famous writer—and his own great manuscript. Krauss’s novel is emotionally wrenching yet intellectually rigorous, idea-driven but with indelible characters and true suspense. It draws a career arc that may very soon surpass her husband’s, in book clubs (it’s a Today show pick) as well as Hollywood. (Foer’s Everything Is Illuminated comes out this [...]

Book of the Month: The History of Love by Nicole Krauss (2005)2021-05-24T15:48:18-04:00

Book of the Month: A Swim in a Pond in the Rain by George Saunders(2021)

2021-10-26T13:09:53-04:00

Book of the Month: A Swim in a Pond in the Rain by George Saunders (2021) Critical Evaluation "Saunders lives in the synapses — he looks at all the minute and meaningful decisions that produce a sentence, a paragraph, a convincing character. He offers one of the most accurate and beautiful depictions of what it is like to be inside the mind of the writer that I’ve ever read — that state of heightened alertness, lightning-quick decisions." Sehgal, Perul, "George Saunders Conducts a Cheery Class on Fiction’s Possibilities,"  The New York Times. January 21, 2021. First Excerpt   "Years ago, on [...]

Book of the Month: A Swim in a Pond in the Rain by George Saunders(2021)2021-10-26T13:09:53-04:00
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