June 1, 2018

 I feel rather ambivalent about my reading of Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. Having read, and enjoyed, Ng’s debut novel Everything I Never Told You, and knowing this book has rave reviews on GoodReads, I was excited to start reading. 

In the genteel, placid, carefully-planned suburban neighborhood of Shaker Heights, Ohio, the Richardson family has staked their claim. Lifelong resident, Elena, grew up there, went to college for journalism, married, and returned to Shaker Heights as a loc...

May 29, 2018

Ghachar Ghochar by Vivek Shanbhag is a short read that packs a punch. At once dealing with issues of class and feminism, there are many layers hidden between these 119 pages. This sparingly beautiful story gives us a glimpse into the lives of a six-member household in Bangalore, India, as their fortunes in the spice business take them, rather suddenly, from lower middle class, within one generation, to high society. Told from the point-of-view of an unnamed male narrator, we see how quickly and...

April 1, 2018

What do I really want? That's the question that the unnamed narrator of Chemistry by Weike Wang sets out to answer after she has a meltdown three years into her, yes, chemistry graduate program at a prestigious Boston university. Her long-term boyfriend, also a student and a scientist, wants to get married and live happily ever after, but how can she possibly get married when she can't even "science" anymore? Who is she outside of the lab, outside of her parents' demands and expectations of her...

January 2, 2018

Sing, Unburied, Sing is Jesmyn Ward's senior novel. While I've had her Hurricane Katrina-related Salvage the Bones on my to-read list for a long time, when this book debuted as a Book of the Month offering, I immediately chose it, mostly due to the high praise it has received from numerous outlets and respected reviewers. I usually avoid uber-hyped books, but find I often regret doing so, so into the story I dove.

This dark, gritty story takes place in southern Mississippi, and f...

January 1, 2018

 Happy 2018, dear readers! As many of you might have done, or may be doing, I am reflecting on my favorite reads of 2017:

Burial Rites
by Hannah Kent*
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara*

And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini*

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman*

These were all stories that stuck with me, and kept me reading, despite a move to a new city and home, recovery from an intense surgery, cross-country and global travel, and near-constant university homework. 

...

November 27, 2017

“Have you ever wondered what a human life is worth? That morning, my brother's was worth a pocket watch.”

There are some books that everyone - adults and children alike - should read. BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY is one of those books.

I have always had a special place in my soul for stories from World War II. This probably stems from a very early reading of Corrie Ten Boom's The Hiding Place, and then later readings of The Diary of Anne Frank and Marcus Zusak's The Book Thief. I don't take pleasure...

December 13, 2016

Toni Morrison, born Chloe Anthony Wofford, has written over a dozen different fiction novels and over a half-dozen non-fiction novels in her lifetime, most notably: BelovedSong of SolomonThe Bluest Eye, and the book on which this review focuses, Sula. While Morrison focuses on the experience of the African-American community in general, the Nobel Committee noted that her novels “give life to an essential aspect of American reality.” ("The Nobel Prize in Literature 1993", 2014) Morrison herse...

October 27, 2016

It was a plodding journey at times, but I made it through the entirety of Main Street by Sinclair Lewis. While this was a required text for my Nobel Prize Winners in Literature class, I am glad that I read it. A study on small town Americana and small town prejudices, Main Street was both infuriating and insightful; infuriating because of the small-mindedness of some characters, and insightful because it caused me to think about how comfortable we become with the norms of society and the prejudi...

July 14, 2016

With a compelling narrative and realistic characters, Nadia Hashimi brings the harrowing experiences of refugees to life in the pages of When the Moon is Low.

Fereiba, a young mother to three children, is forced to flee her home in Kabul, Afghanistan when members of the Taliban regime take her husband, Mahmoud, away and kill him. Her two youngest children do not quite grasp their perilous predicament, but her oldest son, Saleem, realizes that life will never again be the same. Told in alternati...

July 8, 2016

“Family is family. Whether it’s the one you start out with… the one that you end up with… or the family that you gain along the way.”

- Gloria Delgado-Pritchett, Modern Family -

Death. It comes for everyone. It never seems fair, no matter how old or young, sick or healthy, mean or good a person is. All the Time in the World by Caroline Angell begins with a death. As the reader, the outsider, you don’t yet understand or fully appreciate what this death means, but as you read on, you will grieve; yo...

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