Book Reviews Archive

Dismantling Binary: Three Reviews of Genderqueer & Trans Writers’ Chapbooks

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This month, I read work from both genderqueer and transgender writers. Inspired by recent tweets, blog posts, and press releases supporting works by these writers, it seemed a good opportunity to spotlight these three chapbooks.

Review: PACHINKO by Min Jin Lee

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Pachinko is as much a story about money and prejudice as it about colonialism, war and globalization. Lee explores how politics effect the family unit, but more profoundly and perhaps perniciously, individuals’ sense of identity and self-worth that underpin their decisions.

Review: ABANDON ME by Melissa Febos

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Abandon me. The title is a straight-faced challenge. To her lover who she fears will. To two fathers who already have. To the reader who’s embarking on this story with her. Abandon me. Do the worst thing to me I can imagine. And I will save myself with story.

Review: TELL ME HOW IT ENDS: AN ESSAY IN 40 QUESTIONS by Valeria Luiselli

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In her expanded essay Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions, Luiselli outlines the intake form for undocumented minors. The procedure, on paper, is simple: Luiselli presents the questions, the children speak, and Luiselli transcribes their answers in English for the lawyers who will fight to

A Fractured America with a Missing Center in Joan Didion’s SOUTH AND WEST

The political and cultural moment of SOUTH AND WEST's release could not have been foreseen, but through her narrative disappearing act, Didion leaves us to make sense of what we read to find its central purpose.

Review: AFTER THE DAM by Amy Hassinger

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But although Dam contains intriguing traces of family saga and love story, there is nothing formulaic about this layered novel, an often lyrical elegy to the natural world that raises environmental and feminist questions about boundaries of property and self, the reconciliation of love and principles, and the limits

Laurence Sterne’s Beating Hearts

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Though it’s less travel writing and more personal memoir, Laurence Sterne’s A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY THROUGH FRANCE AND ITALY contains one of the most authentic, challenging descriptions of why one might journey from their home in the first place.

Blood at the Root of a Rural Georgia County

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Patrick Phillips is the author of Blood at the Root: A Racial Cleansing in America. Published last September, the book chronicles the racial history of Forsyth County, Georgia, going back to the Civil War and ending with it being fully cemented as an Atlanta suburb today.

Victory is Hers! Three Contest-Winning Chapbooks by Women

This month, I read three award-winning chapbooks—which happen all to have been written by women.

Review: IN THE GREAT GREEN ROOM: THE BRILLIANT AND BOLD LIFE OF MARGARET WISE BROWN by Amy Gary

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In the Great Green Room is an eminently readable biography. The book sheds light on Brown’s creative process and unlikely sources of inspiration. Gary sheds new light on how Goodnight Moon was made, and in doing so we appreciate it even more.