Book Reviews

No spoilers here. These quick reviews offer my personal take on recent books, focusing on a particular element that made them memorable (or not) for this reader. Books are meant to create conversations, so be sure to leave me a note with your own thoughts!

No One Is Talking About This, by Patricia Lockwood

There was so much buzz about Patricia Lockwood’s No One Is Talking About This, that I couldn’t wait to dive in. And now I can definitely say I understand why it received so much praise in terms of timeliness and originality. The book’s structure and subject matter both touch on things that we’ve all grown… Continue Reading →

Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel

If someone had given me a synopsis of this book before I dove in, I probably would have rolled my eyes. A global pandemic? I would have said I’ve had enough of that to last a lifetime, thank you. But in fact this book completely captivated me (and I learned that Emily St. John Mandel… Continue Reading →

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith

I’m someone who really likes classics, even really long, slow ones, and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith, is definitely both of those things. In that sense, I have to admit that this isn’t a classic that everyone will love, but for me it was extremely enjoyable. Smith’s novel is a coming-of-age tale… Continue Reading →

Memorial, by Bryan Washington

I’ve been wanting to read Memorial all year, partly given it’s broad acclaim and partly out of a desire to support my fellow UNO alum, Bryan Washington. So naturally I started this one as soon as I got it (as a holiday gift from yet another UNO alum!). And, to summarize, I really enjoyed this… Continue Reading →

The Help, by Kathryn Stockett

I think I keep saying this but: I’ve been meaning to pull this book off my shelf for quite some time (and of course, to watch the film adaptation afterwards). Well, I finally got around to it, and I see why so many people have been captivated by this story: Stockett keeps the reader turning… Continue Reading →

A Little Life, by Hanya Yanagihara

I’d heard this was a beautiful, sad story before I started it, and that was about all I knew. But both words – beautiful, sad – are woefully inadequate to describe this novel. This is a story about the power of friendship, but the characters in this novel overcome every kind of obstacle and injustice:… Continue Reading →

The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood

I’ve been meaning to read this one for a very long time – in fact, I’ve been meaning to read anything by Margaret Atwood for a very long time, and I finally got around to The Handmaid’s Tale this month. So now, at long last, I understand what all the hype is about. I had… Continue Reading →

Piranesi, by Susanna Clarke

I haven’t been so captivated by a book since before my daughter was born (and that was over 4 months ago!). I simply couldn’t put Piranesi, by Susanna Clarke, down. Firstly, it’s incredibly unique: it blends our complex, busy, present world with a fantastical, simple, barren one. But if “Fantasy” is a no-go for you,… Continue Reading →

The Great Offshore Grounds, by Vanessa Veselka

The Great Offshore Grounds, by Vanessa Veselka, follows four members of an unlikely family through tragedy, triumph, and self-discovery. From the outset, this story pulls you in with it’s sass. It’s central characters are two sisters, Cheyenne and Livy, both with strong personalities but not much else – no money, no promising careers, and no… Continue Reading →

Win Me Something, by Kyle Lucia Wu

This forthcoming, debut novel from Kyle Lucia Wu recounts the experience of a young woman who becomes a live-in nanny for a wealthy New York family. For me, the protagonist of Win Me Something, Willa Chen, feels like a familiar character – someone we’ve all known. After graduating college she’s left without a clear direction… Continue Reading →

The Granta Book of the Irish Short Story

I’ve had this collection on my shelf for several years and finally picked it up in September. Like most of the Irish literature I’ve read, these stories were dense, subtle, and often very contextual. More than once, I had to look up some local slang that I hadn’t come across before, research a little bit… Continue Reading →

Book Review: Jazz, by Toni Morrison

If you’ve been following along, you know by now that I’m a huge Toni Morrison fan, and I’ve slowly been making my way through all of her novels. Jazz is the latest on the list and, as always, Toni Morrison creates some very complex and compelling characters in this novel – characters you simultaneously criticize… Continue Reading →

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