Staff Picks

Here are some recent book reviews!

  • Book Review: The Fountains of Silence

    November 14, 2019
    The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys (2019) Madrid, Spain. 1957. Francisco Franco has been in power for 18 years. The country is still burdened by the losses of the Spanish Civil War and is shrouded in the secrets necessary under Franco’s oppressive regime. Ana, an orphaned child of dissidents, is lucky to have a good job at the Castellana ...
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  • Book Review: Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea

    October 31, 2019
    This is an extremely well-researched and thoughtfully presented account of the lives of a group of North Korean defectors that worked with journalist Barbara Demick to tell their stories of survival and escape. Demick has been interviewing North Koreans since 2001, when was stationed in Seoul by the Los Angeles Times; she is now ...
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  • Book Review: Pumpkinheads

    October 25, 2019
    Pumpkinheads is the latest YA Graphic novel collaboration between Rainbow Rowell, author of bestselling titles such as Eleanor and Park, Fangirl, and Carry On, and Faith Erin Hicks, author and illustrator of Friends with Boys.  This graphic novel follows two best friends –Deja and Josiah — through their last night working together at “the Patch,” the ...
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  • Book Review: Red at the Bone

    October 17, 2019
    Jacqueline Woodson received the National Book Award for her memoir, Brown Girl Dreaming, published in 2014. You might have missed her talents because she writes a lot of young adult material. But don’t miss this work of adult fiction. It packs a punch. I don’t want to appear lazy, but the last paragraph of ...
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  • Book Review: Inconspicuous Consumption: The Environmental Impact You Don’t Know You Have

    October 11, 2019
    It seems absurd to us now that humans once thought the world was flat, but I always get a kick out of pondering: which practices are humans performing this very minute that will seem equally absurd to future generations?  In Inconspicuous Consumption: The Environmental Impact You Don’t Know You Have, former New York Times science ...
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  • Book Review: North American Lake Monsters

    October 4, 2019
    This 2013 short story collection by Nathan Ballingrud won the Shirley Jackson award. I found it while combing around for good short stories that have monsters as central figures, whether real or imagined. After reading one of two in this collection, I couldn’t put it down. The author’s deftly woven and beautifully written ...
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  • Book Review: Lousiana’s Way Home

    September 27, 2019
    Louisiana Elefante has a voice that can sing! In Louisiana’s Way Home by Kate DiCamillo, twelve-year-old Louisiana is going to need to use her talents and sing for her supper. You see, Louisiana has a family curse on her head and the day of reckoning (according to Granny) has arrived. Louisiana is separated ...
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  • Book Review: Late Migrations: A Natural History of Love and Loss

    September 19, 2019
    Late Migrations: A Natural History of Love and Loss, by Margaret Renkl In this unconventional memoir, Renkl blends evocative recollections of her family with insightful observations of the natural world outside her home in Nashville. Told in brief essays, Renkl’s narrative eases seamlessly between the past and the present, bringing the reader from the red dirt roads of her childhood in Alabama to the ...
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  • Book Review: The Nickel Boys

    September 5, 2019
    I started The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead with low expectations.   Because of my own tastes as a reader, I was not as awed as the rest of the world by his 2016 bestseller, The Underground Railroad.  I could not completely buy into Whitehead’s magical realism and his fantastical vision of an actual railroad, secretly ...
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  • Book Review: Priestdaddy: A Memoir

    August 28, 2019
    For the only time that I can remember, I finished a book, turned to the title page, and read it again. Patricia Lockwood’s Priestdaddy: A Memoir is that good: witty, perceptive, and crafted. She’s a poet, and it shows, the imagery and the diction are that vibrant. Priestdaddy is the story of a ...
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