Staff Picks

Here are some recent book reviews!

  • Book Review: “Kent State” by Deborah Wiles

    June 25, 2020
    Different voices. Different perspectives. Like a dissonant Greek chorus, the voices in Deborah Wiles’ work of YA historical fiction, Kent State, rage and argue in poetic free verse as they narrate the events surrounding the Kent State University shootings of May 4, 1970. Using a range of fonts to differentiate speakers, Wiles employs the voices of multiple college students ...
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  • Book Review: “You Never Forget Your First” by Alexis Coe

    June 19, 2020
    I was intrigued by the fanfare surrounding the release of Alexis Coe’s biography of George Washington, cheekily titled You Never Forget Your First.  It seems that biographers of our first president are almost exclusively men, and that these biographies rely heavily on certain anecdotes about Washington’s virtue that have become canonized as fact.  Coe’s biography ...
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  • Book Review: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

    June 12, 2020
    If you enjoyed The Hunger Games series, and are looking for a guilty pleasure, look no further. Suzanne Collins has just published the prequel to her best-selling trilogy, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. The book is the origin story of Coriolanus Snow, the evil President of Panem, whom the heroine Katniss Everdeen ...
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  • Book Review: “Daisy and the Six”

    May 29, 2020
    At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic (and my unexpected hiatus from work) I briefly considered reading a lovely copy of War and Peace I had received as a gift years ago. My powers of concentration and tolerance for frustration were lacking and, sadly, the great novel was returned to the shelf. It seemed that ...
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  • Book Review: “Snow, Glass, Apples”

    May 22, 2020
    Snow, Glass, Apples is Neil Gaiman’s chilling take on Snow White, told from the view of the “Evil Queen.” Gaiman originally published it as a short story in his 1998 anthology, Smoke and Mirrors: Short Fictions and Illusions. He teamed up with illustrator Colleen Doran in 2019 to create a graphic novel version. ...
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  • Book Review: “An American Marriage” by Tayari Jones

    May 15, 2020
    Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. They are settling into the routine of their life together, when they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy ...
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  • Book Review: “Dig” by A.S. King (2020)

    May 8, 2020
    Marla and Gottfried Hemmings have raised five children and find themselves wealthy in their retirement years after trading in potato farming for real estate development.  Each of their children has left the nest – and none of them come home any more.  Marla blames Gottfried; Gottfried blames Marla. Meanwhile, elsewhere in the story, five teenagers are ...
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  • Book Review: “City of Thieves” (2008) by David Benioff

    May 1, 2020
    During the Nazis’ brutal siege of Leningrad, Lev Beniov is arrested for looting and thrown into the same cell as a handsome deserter named Kolya. Instead of being executed, Lev and Kolya are given a shot at saving their own lives by complying with an outrageous directive: secure a dozen ...
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  • Book Review: “One Day” by Gene Weingarten

    April 24, 2020
    I am cheating a bit, because I haven’t quite finished this book; I am reviewing it because I am sure I will recommend it by the time I have finished. It’s a very good read. Whatever you do, don’t skip the introduction, in which Pulitzer-Prize-winning author Weingarten describes how he pitched the idea for this ...
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  • Book Review: “Gabriel Du Pré” Mystery Series by Peter Bowen

    April 17, 2020
    I lost a friend this month, a friend known to PFL’s lovers of mysteries: Peter Bowen, the author of the Gabriel Du Pré series set in Montana.  I met Peter decades ago, when I was at the University of Michigan. He once said, “I attended the University of Michigan ...
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