As you might guess from some of my other posts, I am enough of an Internet Old that this was a re-read for me. I thought it held up beautifully.
Last week I came across one of those irresistible quizzes that pop up on social media. This one promised to give you something to read based on the types of TV shows you choose to watch. Naturally, I took the quiz and then I retook and retook, because I can’t stand not knowing what other books might be out there for me. Anyway, one of the recommendations was A Girl Like That by Tanaz Bhathena. The blurb sounded pretty good, and as it turns out, this YA/teen novel is really excellent. Bhathena, in her debut novel, writes about the experience […]
In the introduction to Song of Solomon, Toni Morrison writes about the death of her father and the inspiration for the novel. She found herself talking to him and wondering what the men he had known were really like. For the first time, with Song of Solomon, Morrison writes from her male characters’ perspective, and these male characters are focused on flight, on some journey of their own, a pursuit after something that might bring them happiness. Macon Dead is a prosperous businessman in the black community of South Detroit. His main concern is making money and expanding his business […]
Our motto here at Cannonball Read is “Sticking it to cancer one book at a time,” and I think I have found a novel that epitomizes that sentiment. Zinzi Clemmons’ debut novel What We Lose is about losing your mother to cancer. Narrator Thandi was a college student when her mother died. Through Thandi’s recollections as an adult, the reader gets glimpses of how her family, her friends, her socio-economic background, and race intersect with her experience of her mother’s illness and death, and with her own deep grief. Clemmons writes of this grief from a personal place. Like Thandi, […]
Nella Larsen’s novel Passing, published in 1929, is a short but powerful and provocative tale about race and racism. The two main characters, Irene and Clare, are childhood friends whose lives diverged in their teen years but intersect again as adults. Both women are fair skinned enough to pass as white. Clare has chosen to hide her past and her race from her wealthy white husband. Irene has married a successful black doctor and has a seemingly good life in Harlem. When their paths meet again, largely at Clare’s insistence, tensions rise as each woman tries to attain that which […]
Possession is a mesmerizing story, or two stories, steeped in mystery, secrecy and discovery. Set in both the modern world and the Victorian age, Possession tells the parallel stories of characters whose intellectual pursuits bring them together but also spark jealousies alongside great creativity. Byatt’s writing is genius. The detail and creativity, the imagination, she brings to her work is simply breathtaking. The novel begins in London, circa 1990. Roland is a scholar/academic, living with longtime girlfriend Val in rather dire straits. His field is world renowned and acclaimed Victorian poet Randolph Henry Ash. Much has already been written about […]
The Ninth Hour by Alice McDermott is a delight to read. McDermott’s writing is warm and evocative, featuring vivid, relatable characters and spaces in which one longs to linger. Brooklyn and the Catholic Church of the 1920s come alive through her novel. At the same time, McDermott uses these very real people and the situations they face to challenge the reader to think about life, death, suffering and redemption. McDermott presents us with a world that we see almost exclusively from the perspective of women — poor women and the nuns who serve in the community. This leads to some […]
This short (115 page) treatise comprises two lectures which noted Cambridge academic and classicist Mary Beard delivered in 2014 and 2017. In these lectures, “The Public Voice of Women” and “Women in Power,” Beard examines the classical roots of the silencing of women’s voices and its effect on women in the modern Western world. Ultimately, in considering how women might truly become “voices of authority,” Beard suggests a reconsideration of “power” itself. In the first essay, Beard takes the reader back 3,000 years to demonstrate the deep roots of western culture’s silencing of the female voice. For ancient Greeks and […]