Sometimes a clever and intriguing story line makes a novel great. Sometimes, it is the interaction of a number of interesting characters. And other times, a novel is great because because of the carefully developed setting that gives life to the situations and characters. In One Came Home (January 2013, Knopf Books for Young Readers),
It is the era when anyone can write a memoir, but not everyone can write one in comic book style. Relish by Lucy Knisley (First Second 2013) is a memoir about food during her life, from childhood to her adulthood. Lucy is a child of two true “foodies,” so her childhood revolved around good home-cooked
Quicksand, Nella Larsen’s debut novel (published 1928) was not nearly as satisfying to me as her second one, Passing (published 1929), which I found a complex but intriguing look at race and repressed sexuality for a light-skinned “coloured” woman in New York during the Harlem Renaissance (thoughts here). Despite my frustrations with Quicksand, it is
I grew up with Anne of Green Gables, which I reread frequently. For some reason, I don’t recall branching out and reading the other Lucy Maud Montgomery novels. As I was reading some longer, denser books recently, I felt the need for a reading break and took the chance to read two stand-alone novels by
Summer by Edith Wharton (published 1917) is a short novella about a young woman searching for her place. In some places, it’s been cited as Wharton’s most “erotic” work1. Charity Royall does come to her own sexual awakening over the course of a summer, but Wharton writes about Charity’s choices without too much sexual reference.
The graphic novel Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword by Barry Deutsch is subtitled “Yet Another Troll-Fighting 11-Year-Old Orthodox Jewish Girl,” and that just about describes its universality and its strangeness. Mirka lives in an Orthodox Jewish town, and she is struggling not only with being a preteen but also with her nemesis: learning to
Although I don’t think her debut novel is necessarily as polished as her later novel, Half of a Yellow Sun, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie stunned me with her perfectly crafted story in Purple Hibiscus (published 2003). It’s full of symbolism, but the touching story of a girl coming to terms with life in general (her abusive
The following post contains spoilers for War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. I really didn’t intend to write yet another post on War and Peace, but as I was reviewing comments, I decided that Katrina had a fair point. I need to write about my disappointments in Tolstoy’s women.
I read both Tropical Fish by Doreen Baingana and The Book of Chameleons by Jose Eduardo Agualusa more than a month ago, and they were both excellent. They deserve a little bit of book blog attention. Have you read them? What do you think of them?
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