Piecing Me Together is a 2017 YA novel, a Newbery Honor book and winner of the Coretta Scott King Award. Jade, a teenager from Portland, Oregon, tells her story of being poor, black and on scholarship to prestigious St. Francis school on other side of town. Jade is an excellent student and an artist who has much to offer and who is eager to break out of her neighborhood. As she navigates two worlds — the neighborhood called the New Columbia and the world of mostly white privilege at St Francis — Jade must learn to deal with obstacles expected […]
Where my Murderinos at? Part self-help book (kinda), part memoir (mostly), and all kinds of things you didn’t know about Georgia and Karen (and probably weren’t afraid to ask), Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered is a breezy, easy read with some serious points underlying all the humor — a lot like the “My Favorite Murder” podcast only written down in a version you can hold! We have gone from living inside your headphones to pouring ourselves out onto the page like a couple of Edna St. Vincent Millays. We invite you to drink deeply of us. We’ll get you […]
This short and utterly beautiful story is about following one’s dreams and maintaining hope in the face of despair. It is a meditation on family, motherhood, and selfless love. Published in South Korea in 2000, it became a bestseller and a classic of Korean literature. Hwang has written dozens of books and she has received multiple awards for them. The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly is poignant and gorgeously written, with translation by Chi-Young Kim and illustrations by Japanese artist Nomoco. While this might be considered a child’s story, it is truly a fine piece of literature, reminiscent of […]
According to the book jacket, this is “a mystery of 1920s India” and that was enough to make me very curious. “The Widows of Malabar Hill” is a murder mystery, and a fine one at that, but it is also a picture of Bombay (not sure why it’s Bombay and not Mumbai) shortly after WWI from the point of view of a young Parsi woman named Perveen Mistry. Through her, Sujata Massey immerses the reader in a world that straddles the traditional and the modern. It’s 1921 and the British still rule India, but independence movements are on the rise. […]
“Horror,” Laura Miller says in the introduction to the Penguin Classics edition of The Haunting of Hill House, “turns on the dissolution of boundaries […] between the outside of the body and everything that ought to stay inside.” Maybe the way horror lurks in liminal spaces, only rarely coming right out in the open, has something to do with how much I enjoy the genre. And The Haunting of Hill House serves masterfully as our guide to those cracked and uncertain places.
With summer approaching, you might be looking for something fun to take to the beach, and Vivian Shaw’s first novel in what is going to become a Greta Helsing series would be a fine choice. Set in contemporary London, this novel introduces us to Dr. Helsing, daughter of the famous Dr. Wilfert Helsing and doctor to the monster community. Mummies, ghouls, vampires (and vampyres— there’s a difference) all know they can count on Greta and her staff to ably and discreetly guide them back to health. Yet something sinister lurks the streets of London, something more monstrous than any monster […]
When it comes to reading poetry, I tend to stick with the classic epic poems like Beowulf and The Odyssey or more contemporary YA poetry-as-novel (The Poet X, Brown Girl Dreaming). I can’t remember a time outside of a classroom when I read a poetry collection. So for the CBR book exchange last December, one of my suggestions for whomever was buying for me was a book of poems, and Cannonballer Bonnie sent me this slim but stunning and provocative collection by contemporary award-winning poet Traci Brimhall. I feel somewhat at a loss as to how to review poems, but […]
When I became too old for Sunday School, I had to learn to sit through sermons. At first I doodled hearts and flowers on the church bulletin. When I was too old for that, I turned my attention to analyzing the sermon. Depending on the preacher, I waited for Freudian slips, clichés, logical fallacies (“no true Scotsman”), and flights of magical thinking—flaws I found quite amusing. Yet the quickest way to lose my interest and respect was to traffic in the soggy old object lesson. For the uninitiated, a pastor will tell a story—maybe from the news, maybe an anecdote, […]