Tag: books

Book Review: The Black Banners

I finished this book in late May and completely forgot to review it here. I know most of you who read my reviews are primarily interested in fiction – and most of the time, I am too. However, after reading I am Malala this spring I wanted to continue learning more about Al Qaeda and the Taliban from other points of… Read more →

Book Review: Hillbilly Elegy

Though released in June 2016, it wasn’t until after President Trump was elected in November that I started hearing about Hillbilly Elegy and saw J.D. Vance on a few panels of “experts” ready to lend an explanation as to why the reality TV show host just won the highest seat in the nation. Big thinkers and retired politicians and angry, biased… Read more →

Book Review: Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald

Reading this book was an act of magnetism because I’ve been drawn to the Lost Generation writers and their work since I went to Key West in tenth grade to study Ernest Hemingway. The tragedy and drama surrounding these American writers is as addictive to me as the Tudor Dynasty and Elizabethan Era, which I have also studied for years. The… Read more →

Book Review: No Wonder They Call Him the Savior

I unearthed Max Lucado’s 1986 book to read during Lent because I’ve been craving the story of the cross. In recent years I researched contemplative prayer and doctrinal differences between denominations. I read a lot about how social/cultural matters intersect with faith and action. I was on the up-and-up, trying to discern where I stood. But this season, I craved the… Read more →

Book Review: The Great Divorce

After the cluster that was my Searching for Sunday reading experience, I craved a literary touchstone so spiritually challenging that I’d be knocked right off my high horse. I went straight to an old standby, C.S. Lewis. The Great Divorce has been on my shelf for more than a year, and after readjusting my expectations to encompass allegory, I dove into the narrative and… Read more →

Book Review: Searching for Sunday

If this reads like a break-up letter, that’s because it is. Rachel won’t receive it, and that’s fine. Her pool of fans is large enough, so she won’t notice me quietly slipping out the back door. My first experience with Rachel Held Evans was with her first book, Evolving in Monkey Town, and it was a breath of fresh air.… Read more →

Book Review: Hidden Bodies

First, an English lesson: Deus ex Machina (“god from the machine”) is a literary device often used when the writer has “painted herself into a corner.” In other words, when there is no way out, a sudden and very convenient way out materializes. It’s frustrating for the reader who enjoys a well-devised plot. Now onto Hidden Bodies. This is at follow-up… Read more →

Book Review: Birdman

After reading The Devil of Nanking last year, I sought out Mo Hayder’s entire collection because I knew she was a writer whose works I wanted to consume. I learned that she had an entire detective series to devour, so I found Birdman at Book Depository and ordered it right away. Just as I’d hoped, it was as gruesome and edgy… Read more →

Book Review: The Good Girl

Instead of reading a paper book, I listened to this one (for free) in audiobook format. It’s not my favorite way to “read,” but it’s nice when I have busywork (folding laundry, cleaning out closets, cooking dinner) and I’m not in the mood for podcasts. Something enjoyable streams in my ears while I work. The Good Girl toggles back and forth… Read more →

Top Ten Favorite Books of 2016

In 2015, I read 53 books, verifying to myself that I could, indeed, read 50 books in a year. For 2016, I gave myself a break and set a goal of 40. If all pans out by New Year’s Eve, I will have finished 46 books (45 on paper, one audio). Of those, I chose ten favorites with ease. Numbering them… Read more →

Book Review: The Snow Child

I’m working on a post about the favorite books I read this year, and I was about 30 pages into The Snow Child when I knew it would make the list. Jack and Mabel moved from Pennsylvania to the Alaskan frontier in the 1920s to become homesteaders. They are older, childless, and daring. The childless part was not intentional. They dreamed of… Read more →

Book Review: The Night Sister

In London, Vermont, there’s a small motel off of Route 6 that used to be the go-to place for travelers. But when the highway was built across town, the motel started to decline and it eventually closed. Charlotte, an Englishwoman, ran the place with her husband, who built a tower behind the motel so his wife could enjoy her very… Read more →

Book review: The Winter People

This book was so good I read it in two days. Then I found a second book by Jennifer McMahon (The Night Sister) at a used book shop and read that one in one day. She is a phenomenal storyteller. The Winter People takes place in the fictional West Hall, Vermont, over two time frames – 1908 and Present Day. In… Read more →

Book Review: The Forgotten Girls

I’ve been on a kick of needing complete escapism, and for me, that means mystery, thriller, murder, scary, and what the hell am I reading. To quench my thirst for murder mysteries, I borrowed a stack of books from Karin, and among them was The Forgotten Girls. The only thing I didn’t like about this book was the language barrier.… Read more →

Book Review: The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

I assigned this book for my literature and creative writing class at the co-op, and I’m so glad I did because it provided a space for wonderful, in-depth conversation about history and human nature. Though many of my students had heard the word “Holocaust,” they had neither the insight nor application to wrap their brains about what really happened. First, The… Read more →

Book Review: The Drop

Dennis Lehane might not be an author whose name you recognize, but you know his work. Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone, Shutter Island… These are movies, but they were books first. His books. I read Gone Baby Gone in graduate school as it fits the police procedural/mystery/detective genre perfectly. Lehane writes as if the book is also a screenplay. The… Read more →

Book Review: In a Dark, Dark Wood

For Leonora, going to a hen party isn’t her cup of tea, but when an old friend from a decade prior is getting married, she’s on the receiving end of an invite to a cabin in the woods to celebrate Clare’s last days as a single girl. If “cabin in the woods” isn’t an indicator that something will go wrong,… Read more →

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