Publisher: Vintage

Playing Murakami Bingo With South of the Border, West of the Sun

Posted August 14, 2015 in Reviews / 11 Comments
Playing Murakami Bingo With South of the Border, West of the Sun

Aside from J.K. Rowling and Cheryl Strayed, Haruki Murakami is the main author I turn to when I need a comfort read. There’s something quiet and soothing about his writing. He often has his characters swim laps, evoking  long, stretched-out strokes and a kind of relaxing repetition. As a (lapsed) swimmer, I get a similar feeling from Murakami’s writing. Starting one of his books always feels like diving in and taking the first few glorious strokes after a long absence from the […]

Book Review: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Posted May 8, 2014 in Reviews / 35 Comments
Book Review: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Growing up at an English residential school called Hailsham, Kathy and her classmates are told that they’re special, that they will have an important role to play later in life. However, dark rumors and half-understood offhand remarks lurk beneath the surface of their idyllic childhood. As Kathy, her friends Ruth and Tommy, and the rest of the ubiquitous cliques grow up in their sheltered environment, the prospect of the “donations” they will someday face is always faintly present in the background […]

Jazz Age January 2014: The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott Fizgerald

Posted January 30, 2014 in Blogging & Challenges, Reviews / 25 Comments
Jazz Age January 2014: The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott Fizgerald

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s second novel centers around Anthony Patch and his beautiful wife Gloria. Inspired by Scott and Zelda themselves, this couple live wildly in 1920s New York, seeking pleasure at any cost. Anthony, a would-be aristocrat waiting for his inheritance, spends his bachelor days at clubs, attending raucous parties, and entertaining women. When he meets Gloria, a beautiful golden girl bursting with life, he immediately falls in love with her. The two marry and proceed to have as grand […]

Book Review: Beloved by Toni Morrison

Posted October 20, 2013 in Reviews / 25 Comments
Book Review: Beloved by Toni Morrison

I’m not quite sure how to talk about this book. It’s been sitting on my shelf for over a year, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought, “yeah, I’ll read that next,” only to guiltily pull something else from my shelf when the time came. It’s no secret that I’ve felt intimidated by the work of this Nobel laureate. Everyone has told me that yes, Morrison’s books are complex and layered, but even if you don’t catch […]

Book Review: Red by Terry Tempest Williams

Posted June 20, 2013 in Reviews / 7 Comments
Book Review: Red by Terry Tempest Williams

I recently spent three weeks traveling around the American West and spent much of that time in southern Utah, a vast, wild land of stunning red cliffs and winding canyons, natural bridges and arches, views of distant mountains, the meanderings of the Colorado River, and an astonishing variety of plant and animal life. I picked up Red at the visitors center in Moab and read a good portion of it while sitting on a sun-warmed boulder under a massive red butte […]

Book Review: St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves by Karen Russell

Posted March 4, 2013 in Reviews / 14 Comments
Book Review: St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves by Karen Russell

Karen Russell’s debut is a stunning, imaginative collection of ten short stories, including the piece that grew to become Swamplandia!, a finalist for the 2011 Pulitzer Prize. Similarly to Swamplandia!, the stories in this collection have a whimsical feel and touches of magical realism. In the title story, a pack of girls are taken from their werewolf parents to be re-educated and become proper, civilized young women. Other stories feature an over-night camp for children with sleep disorders, where campers are subject […]

Book Review: Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

Posted December 19, 2012 in Reviews / 18 Comments
Book Review: Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

As middle-aged Toru Watanabe’s flight lands at the gloomy Hamburg airport and the plane begins taxying to the terminal, an orchestral version of The Beatles’ “Norwegian Wood” begins playing through the ceiling speakers. Hearing this song takes him back to his youth in the autumn of 1969. At the age of 18, Toru moves from his home in Kobe to a university in Tokyo. One day in this new city, he runs into an old friend, Naoko, with whom he […]

Book Review: Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed

Posted December 3, 2012 in Reviews / 14 Comments
Book Review: Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed

I never thought I would be the type of person to buy a book from the Self-Help section of the bookstore. And yet, a few weeks ago I found myself furtively sneaking down an aisle lined with titles such as A Whole New You and The Happiness Code to ease a copy of Cheryl Strayed’s Tiny Beautiful Things from the shelf. I loved Strayed’s memoir Wild when I read it this summer, and when I heard about Tiny Beautiful Things, a collection of pieces she […]

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 […]