Tag » book review
  Samantha Shannon’s debut novel (the first of a seven-part series) has already been compared to both Harry Potter and The Hunger Games, and this comparison is spot on. The Bone Season begins in underground London in the year 2059. Hundreds of years earlier, the fabric that separated the human world from the spirit world had been torn. Because of that, clairvoyance—the ability to connect with ghosts—has become prevalent across the ... Read More
Tehran-born Dina Nayeri knows all about being split between two worlds—her family immigrated to Oklahoma when she was ten. In A Teaspoon of Earth and Sea, Nayeri returns to 1980s Iran to tell the story of twins Saba and Mahtab, who are obsessed with American culture. After Mahtab and her mother mysteriously disappear, 11-year-old Saba is convinced that they have moved to America without her. As she grows up, Saba imagines Mahtab’s life unfolding ... Read More
A bored teenager starting a garage band isn’t exactly novel. What’s fascinating is what happens after, according to British Indie Rock Star Tracey Thorn’s new memoir, Bedsit Disco Queen. While Thorn has sold nine million records as one half of the band Everything But the Girl, she started as a humble, self-trained punk guitarist, eventually making a name for herself with her stunning vocals and songwriting skills.  Thorn's music career ... Read More
In ten clever and engaging short stories, Canadian author Zsuzsi Gartner explores trials of modern life imbued with the fantastical. Shortlisted for the 2011 Giller Prize, Better Living Through Plastic Explosives consists largely of characters that come from places of relative privilege. Gartner often skewers the ridiculousness of that privilege, but always manages to take her characters and their dissatisfactions seriously.  In “Investment Results May ... Read More
 Ever since her adolescence, Rosie Schaap, who writes the “Drink” column for The New York Times, has felt an attraction to bars. As a teenager, her obsession begins when she starts giving tarot card readings in exchange for beer in the bar car of the Metro North commuter train. When she attends college in a small town where the local bar is the only means of entertainment, drinking in bars becomes Schaap’s devoted hobby. She even abandons ... Read More
 Charming. Candid. Compelling. All of these words describe Beth Ditto—and all of them equally sum up her new memoir. Chronicling Ditto’s rise to international fame, the book starts with her humble beginnings in her conservative, tiny Arkansas hometown. While struggling to survive amidst crippling poverty, young Ditto endures sexual abuse early at the hands of a family friend, and learns that this has been the norm for many of her family members. ... Read More
Born in Nigeria and raised in England, Noo Saro-Wiwa avoided visiting her native country after her father, a prominent political activist, was killed there for speaking out against government corruption. Years later, Saro-Wiwa, a travel writer, decided to return to Nigeria and explore her love-hate relationship with her homeland. Her journey both reinforces and calls into question her ethnic identity: a visit to her home village means that she is in the one place ... Read More
The reference to “six granddaughters” in the title of this dark, complex novel is deceiving: two are dead. One dies as an infant and pulls a shroud of everlasting grief over the family, and the other narrates the entire novel from beyond the grave while she floats in an afterlife. At the heart of the novel is Cecilia, a beautiful poet who is perceived as being the most talented and attractive among the granddaughters. Nonetheless, she is plagued by ... Read More
This is the story of a Palestinian family in Gaza coping with the hell of living in a warzone. The book is informative, exciting, and thorough—all you have to do is get through the first 60 cumbersome pages, and then the story flies along until the end. Dabbagh’s main characters are 27-year-old Iman and her twin brother Rashid, and their story opens with a bombing raid. While Rashid is hanging out on his roof, stoned out of his mind and welcoming ... Read More
In Marbles, cartoonist Ellen Forney’s life-altering journey though mental illness is graphically exposed in more ways than one. The Forney we see at the start of the story is experiencing her most sexual, creative, and manic period, which is followed by a big crash that leads to her bipolar diagnosis at 30. Here, her story evolves into the struggle not only to come to terms with medicating herself, but also to find the right formula of medications that will ... Read More
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