Category: Reviews

Book Review: Circulation by Tim Horvath

Posted June 21, 2012 in Reviews / 6 Comments
Book Review: Circulation by Tim Horvath

When a story begins with the magical words, “When we were awash with youth,” you know it’s going to be a stunning read. Tim Horvath’s Circulation, a 67-page novella, did not disappoint. I picked up this little piece of fiction at the Buffalo Small Press Book Fair a few months ago and have been saving it, this book described on the back cover as a “swirling ode to maps, dreams, and the redemptive power of fiction,” for a relaxing summer afternoon. […]

Book Review: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

Posted June 12, 2012 in Reviews / 11 Comments
Book Review: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

In Brooklyn grows a singular type of tree that is able to flourish in the poorest of conditions, “the only tree that grew out of cement.” Under such a tree, at the turn of the century, grows a young girl named Francie. With an alcoholic, singing waiter father, a hardened but deeply caring mother, and a charming younger brother, Francie faces all the joys and hardships of growing up in the tenements of Brooklyn — from following musical performers through […]

Book Review: Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Posted May 15, 2012 in Reviews / 5 Comments
Book Review: Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

“Listen: Billy Pilgrim has come unstuck in time.” So begins Kurt Vonnegut’s most famous work, Slaughterhouse-Five. This novel is Vonnegut trying to find meaning in his experiences in WWI; he survived both the Battle of the Bulge and the 1945 bombing of Dresden, and he struggled for the rest of his life with the things he witnessed during the war. Slaughterhouse-Five is an anti-war novel that also isn’t an anti-war novel. As Vonnegut acknowledges in the opening chapter, one might as well […]

Book Review: Swamplandia! by Karen Russell

Posted April 17, 2012 in Reviews / 4 Comments
Book Review: Swamplandia! by Karen Russell

Karen Russell’s debut novel welcomes the reader to Swamplandia!, the premier gator-themed amusement park in the Florida Everglades, where tourists flock from around the world to watch alligator wrestling and to witness Hilola Bigtree’s famous “Swimming with the Seths” routine. That is, until Hilola tragically dies, leaving her husband and three children to pick up the pieces. Without the park’s main attraction, Swamplandia! begins to fail as the family struggles to keep afloat on their secluded island home. Hilola’s husband, Chief […]

Book Review: No One is Here Except All of Us by Ramona Ausubel

Posted March 6, 2012 in Reviews / 3 Comments
Book Review: No One is Here Except All of Us by Ramona Ausubel

Ramona Ausubel’s debut novel No One is Here Except All of Us is the first book I have read so far that was written this year, and I really liked it. The novel is set in a tiny Romanian village at the outbreak of WWII in 1939. The Jewish villagers, though fearful of the spreading destruction, are counting on their isolation to keep them safe. That is, until a strange woman washes up on the river bank outside the town. […]

Book Review: Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser

Posted February 16, 2012 in Reviews / 8 Comments
Book Review: Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser

Sister Carrie, by Theodore Dreiser, is a novel written at the turn of the century, as America was transitioning from a traditional to a modern society. In the modernized cities of Chicago and New York, new opportunities for social mobility were available to those with the imagination and determination to rise. Sister Carrie tells the story of one such person. At the age of 18, Carrie Meeber leaves her home in a small Wisconsin town to begin a new life […]

Book Review: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Posted February 13, 2012 in Reviews / 7 Comments
Book Review: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

I first read The Great Gatsby my sophomore year of college, over two years ago. I read most of it while laying on a blanket in the sun outside my dorm, and I enjoyed it, but it didn’t really leave any lasting impression on me. I wasn’t struck by the “this is the greatest book of the 20th century” lighting bolt. The book faded from my mind until my English professor (I’m taking Modern American Literature) started referencing it while […]

Book Review: Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Posted February 6, 2012 in Reviews / 1 Comment
Book Review: Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

It took me two tries and nearly a month to read, but I finally finished Anna Karenina! I really wanted to love it, but I have some mixed feelings. I thought Tolstoy did an excellent job in his aim of making Anna pitiful but not guilty. Although she often rages about having given up everything, her son, her life, for Vronsky, she doesn’t for a second regret it. That she doesn’t feel guilty about leaving is something I dislike about […]