I finally made it to the Roxane Gay party! Bad Feminist is a critically acclaimed collection of essays by Roxane Gay that covers many topics. The essays are divided into categories such as “Gender and Sexuality,” “Race and Entertainment,” “Politics, Gender and Race,” and “ME.” Within each category, Gay offers a number of essays related to the topic at hand, writing with insight, well-argued liberal opinions, and humor. She is well versed in politics and pop culture, and is willing to reveal something of herself while discussing TV, movies, reproductive rights, books, politics, and more. These essays read as if […]
Doctor Elizabeth Ford is a psychiatrist who has worked on and overseen the prison hospital psychiatric wards at Bellevue Hospital in New York since 2000. In this memoir, Dr. Ford describes the conditions, staff and patients in these wards as well as her own personal journey in working with them. Much of what she describes is frustrating and tragic: the lack of space and consistent treatment for those in need, seeing the same prisoners cycle back into her wards over and over, stories of individual prisoners (whose names have been changed) whose mental illnesses cause them and those around them […]
Laurie Halse Anderson’s award-winning YA novels set during the American Revolution are superb. Not only does she get her history correct — with fascinating detail about daily life for wealthy and working classes, Loyalists and Patriots, city life and army camp life — but she also provides narrators whose perspectives are unique and provocative. Isabel and Curzon are slaves. Each brings a different view of the revolution and what it means for them as slaves. The three novels take the reader from May of 1776, when the British are about to invade New York, through the harsh winter of 1777-78 at […]
Half of a Yellow Sun is a story of independence, war, betrayal and loss both for a nation and for a particular group of people swept up in it all. Set in the 1960s, it examines life in Nigeria on the eve of war and then during the chaos and violence of the Biafran war. While providing concise historical background on Nigeria and Biafra, Adichie, through her characters, shows how class division, race, culture, and gender fed into and were in turn influenced by conflict. This is a painful story to read, yet it is full of passion and truth, […]
This YA novel has turned into a bestseller and has generated a lot of positive buzz. Angie Thomas, with her first novel, boldly takes on racism and police shootings through the eyes of 16-year-old Starr Carter. Starr is an engaging narrator who straddles two different worlds that will collide, forcing her to make hard choices about who she is and what she ought to be doing. We meet Starr on the night “it” happens. It’s spring break and Starr is at a house party in her neighborhood, Garden Heights. There she runs into one of her oldest friends Khalil. They’ve […]
Broken Verses is a gripping novel about love and loss with a mystery at its core. The protagonist, Aasmaani, is a 31-year-old woman living in Karachi, Pakistan. She has gained some renown due to the fact that her mother Samina was a famous women’s rights activist who left her husband (Aasmaani’s father) to take up with a revolutionary poet while Aasmaani was an infant. The Poet (as he was known in Pakistan) was killed 16 years ago, presumably by government forces in retaliation for his criticisms of the regime. Samina disappeared two years after the Poet’s death. Now Aasmaani is […]
Y’all. Y’all. Maybe I wasn’t the target audience for this book but it was so bad.
Tayari Jones’ Silver Sparrow is an engrossing novel about sisters and secrecy. Set in 1980s Atlanta, its focus is on a dysfunctional and disintegrated family. Our first narrator, Dana Yarboro, writes from an adult perspective about her childhood and teenaged years as the secret daughter of one James Witherspoon. Our second narrator, Chaurisse Witherspoon, is James’ daughter by his legally recognized wife Laverne. Jones uses her prodigious writing talents to create sympathetic and complex but very human characters as well as an intricate and compelling plot. The reader knows from early that a life-changing confrontation is in the making. This […]