I hadn’t originally planned to review all three of these books together, but after reading them, I found that they had more in common than just their author. American Born Chinese, Boxers and Saints all center on teens who are dealing with issues related to their identity and how to live within the community in which they find themselves. Do you adapt to others’ expectations, try to remake the community as you wish it to be, or leave it for something new? American Born Chinese is an award-winning graphic novel that tells the stories of three characters as they struggle […]
Justina Ireland’s 2018 YA novel Dread Nation was one of New York Public Library’s Winter 2018 Picks for Young Adults. When I read the brief description about alternative history and zombies and then saw the totally badass cover over on Amazon, I had to read it. Although it clocks in at over 400 pages, I zipped through it in no time, and all I can say is that there had better be a sequel soon! Set in the 1870s, Ireland shows her readers an America that is horrifying and familiar. She has also created some cool and courageous characters, most […]
I picked up this 2017 collection of short stories because it featured contributions of several writers whose work I’ve reviewed before and liked, and the subject of djinn (or jinn or genies, whatever term you prefer) has been popping up on my radar quite a bit lately. The Djinn Falls in Love and Other Stories was a brilliant way for me to start CBR11 — immensely entertaining, sometimes provocative, and an entree to the works of writers new to me but whose work I will definitely be tracking down. The stories are a wonderful mix of styles and settings and shed light not only on the nature of the djinn but on human nature as well. The djinn, created by Allah from smokeless fire, are sometimes depicted as tricky and/or evil, but in some ways they are no different from humans.
I’ll be honest. One of the reasons I chose this graphic novel was because it’s short and an easy read, and this is my final review of the year (cannonball!!) so I wanted to just get it done before the holiday crush. Krampus! was an impulse buy at our local comic book store a couple of weeks ago. They had a display at the checkout and it was the selection of the month. The artwork by Dean Kotz, with its bold inks and coloring, features a buff and dangerous-looking Krampus sporting a shit-eating grin while sitting atop a pile of Santas. […]
This highly acclaimed, award-winning 2016 novel is a provocative look at a fictional “small bomb” blast at an open air market in India in 1996 and the aftermath for the victims and the perpetrators. Karan Mahajan explores racism, religious intolerance, problems of assimilation, the notion of justice, and the work of activists — whether peaceful or terrorist — as his characters deal with their losses over the next seven years. The novel is full of surprises, especially when we see how similar the two sides of the equation are to each other and in the way events come full circle. […]
Whitefly is a short detective novel by Moroccan writer Abdelilah Hamdouchi. Hamdouchi writes crime fiction and has had success as a screen writer of police thrillers. This novel was first published in Arabic in 2000 and translated by Jonathan Smolin in 2016. It is a noir-ish story of bodies washed up on the shore in Tangier. Are the deaths related? And why does one of the bodies have gunshot wounds? Detective Khalid Ibrahim, aka Laafrit, must rely on his instincts and connections both in the police world and on the gritty streets of Tangier to find the gun and piece […]
Thank you, Bonnie!! I’m looking forward to reading some poetry (for the first time in a long time) over the holidays. And a classic! Middlemarch! Thank you so much!
My Sister, the Serial Killer is the debut novel from Nigerian writer Oyinkan Braithwaite, and it packs a real punch! In under 300 pages, Braithwaite draws the reader into a fascinating story of Korede, our narrator, who finds herself repeatedly having to clean up her younger sister Ayoola’s messes. And those messes are the murders of her boyfriends, three and counting. The novel is something of a thriller, as we wait to see if Ayoola will kill again and if the sisters will escape the law, but it is also a commentary on modern Nigeria and the position of women […]