Category: Reviews

Mini Reviews: Saint Mazie and Land Where I Flee

Posted June 5, 2015 in Reviews / 11 Comments
Mini Reviews: Saint Mazie and Land Where I Flee

Something must be in the air, because I’ve been in a major reviewing slump for the last month. I’ll read a book, have many thoughts about it, and then move on to something else, unable to find the motivation to sit down and write. Today, I’m going to try to get back into the groove, little by little, starting with mini reviews of two books that came out this week: Saint Mazie by Jami Attenberg and Land Where I Flee by Prajwal […]

The Shore by Sara Taylor: A Gritty Multi-Generational Family Saga

Posted May 22, 2015 in Reviews / 9 Comments
The Shore by Sara Taylor: A Gritty Multi-Generational Family Saga

Off the coast of Virginia, a cluster of barrier islands called the Shore are home to both millionaires with their yachts and blue-collar workers leading hard-scrabble lives — and as in many small, isolated communities, nearly all of the locals are related to each other on some branch of the gnarled, sprawling family tree. The Shore by Sara Taylor spans generations as it tells the story of two families that are both haunted by and irrevocably tied to their marshy patch of earth pitched […]

Two Must-Read Books by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Posted May 21, 2015 in Reviews / 10 Comments
Two Must-Read Books by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Sometimes when a book gets tons of hype, it can fall short of expectations. But other times, a two-year hype train can lead to finding a new favorite author. Happily, the latter was the case when I finally read the writing of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie last month. Americanah has earned a permanent spot on my bookshelf for its beautiful writing and keen observations, and I’m trying to find a spot in my apartment to display We Should All Be Feminists that will encourage […]

Book Review: Citizen by Claudia Rankine

Posted May 9, 2015 in Reviews / 4 Comments
Book Review: Citizen by Claudia Rankine

Citizen: An American Lyric, Claudia Rankine’s collection of prose and poetry, catalogues the microaggressions and blatant racism black Americans face on a daily basis. From things as seemingly small as being called the name of a different black person to incidents as awful as being reported to the police as a suspicious figure in an affluent neighborhood, these moments build up to a constant hum of “Hold up, did you just hear, did you just say, did you just see, did you just […]

In Which Spinster By Kate Bolick Comes Along At Just the Right Time

Posted April 30, 2015 in Reviews / 22 Comments
In Which Spinster By Kate Bolick Comes Along At Just the Right Time

In her early twenties, Kate Bolick started writing in her journal about her “spinster wish,” which she describes as “shorthand for the extravagant pleasures of simply being alone.” Despite a string of serious monogamous relationships with wonderful men, she found herself happiest when alone, waking up to stretch across a blissfully empty bed and spending Saturday afternoons reading and napping. Now, two decades later, she remains single by choice, enjoying both the romance of dating and the liberty of having her own space. In Spinster: […]

Book Review: The Given World by Marian Palaia

Posted April 28, 2015 in Reviews / 12 Comments
Book Review: The Given World by Marian Palaia

When thirteen-year-old Riley’s brother Mick is declared missing in Vietnam in 1968, it’s as if the center has dropped out of her world. Devastated but refusing to accept the fact that he is probably dead, she turns to booze, drugs, and the affections of Darrell, a boy from the reservation. When he, too, goes away to war in 1973, she flees Montana for the West Coast, desperate to see the ocean. She lands in San Francisco, which isn’t quite the […]

Book Review: The World Before Us by Aislinn Hunter

Posted April 2, 2015 in Reviews / 7 Comments
Book Review: The World Before Us by Aislinn Hunter

In one fleeting moment, fifteen-year-old Jane’s life changes forever. While on a walk through the woods of northern England with the girl she is babysitting, she loses her young charge. The child, Lucy, is never found, and that fateful day has a profound impact on the course of Jane’s life. Twenty years later, Jane is working as an archivist at a small London museum that is about to close. For her final project, she is researching the disappearance of a woman, N, […]

Three Great Perspectives from Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed by Meghan Daum

Posted March 27, 2015 in Reviews / 23 Comments
Three Great Perspectives from Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed by Meghan Daum

In Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed, Meghan Daum collects essays from sixteen childless (or childfree, depending on how you spin it) writers on the decision not to have kids. The vast array of perspectives represented in this book is wonderful. Some contributors have always known they didn’t want kids, others struggled for years to decide, and some made it through their childbearing years without actively deciding either way. And their reasons for declining parenthood are just as varied: loving children but not wanting to parent […]

Hausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum, Or Can Comparisons Spoil a Book?

Posted March 26, 2015 in Discussions, Reviews / 12 Comments
Hausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum, Or Can Comparisons Spoil a Book?

(I have done my best to avoid spoilers, but this post contains vague references to Hausfrau’s ending. Readers who don’t want to be spoiled might want to stop reading.) Rarely has a day passed in the last few weeks that I haven’t seen at least one review of Hausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum in my feed reader. Narrated by an American expat living with her Swiss husband and three small children in a suburb of Zurich, this novel deals with isolation, depression, […]

Three Britishisms Explained in That’s Not English by Erin Moore

Posted March 24, 2015 in Reviews / 22 Comments
Three Britishisms Explained in That’s Not English by Erin Moore

As a teenager, I was obsessed with all things British. I couldn’t get enough of The Arctic Monkeys, the strap for my guitar (on which I strummed clumsily along to Laura Marling songs) had a Union Jack print, and I infuriated my little sister by pretentiously saying I was skint instead of broke. I finally got to live my dreams my sophomore year of college, when I spent a semester in London. I attended uni (university), got a lot of wear out of […]