‘There There’ a Gut Punch in the Best Way

There are a lot of characters—a full dozen POVs and a smattering of side characters—to keep track of in Tommy Orange’s There There. But even though reading the novel means keeping track of this person and that person as they appear and disappear within There There‘s various narratives, Orange’s considerable skill as a writer meansContinue reading “‘There There’ a Gut Punch in the Best Way”

‘Hollow’ Treads Familiar Ground, but Still Spooks

The Hollow Places made it onto my TBR the instant I knew it existed, which was, like, two weeks ago. I read T. Kingfisher’s The Twisted Ones soon after it came out last year and it gave me the willies, the creeps, and the heebie-jeebies, and I loved every minute of it. In The HollowContinue reading “‘Hollow’ Treads Familiar Ground, but Still Spooks”

‘Terra-Two’ is a Dreamy Adventure

We as a species love space. We love stories about breaking the fragile bounds of Earth and venturing forth to see what lies in the lonely dark beyond. We’re fascinated with the idea of sitting in a tin can, far above the world. And we love imagining all the places and things the people whoContinue reading “‘Terra-Two’ is a Dreamy Adventure”

‘Dead Queens Club’ Breathes New Life into History

I often struggle with YA books, and did even when I was squarely in their target audience, because it seems like most of them are built on the assumption that the reader wants to relate with teenagers. Which, yeah, is kind of the point, but high school, adolescence—it was a rough time for me andContinue reading “‘Dead Queens Club’ Breathes New Life into History”

‘Hours’ tries furiously to connect its two halves

Harper Lee is one of those rare writers who managed to cement herself in literary canon with a single novel and a smattering of short stories. A recluse even J.D. Salinger could be proud of, she kept to herself, privately enjoying her earnings from To Kill A Mockingbird, poking her head out just long enoughContinue reading “‘Hours’ tries furiously to connect its two halves”

It’s Easy to Fall Under the Spell of ‘Gothic’

One of the most pleasurable threads running through Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s Mexican Gothic is that the book’s heroine, Noemí Taboada, can be in the throes of spooky secrets and acutely in danger and still take a moment to consider her outfit. For example: “Noemí changed into a polka-dot day dress with a square neck. She hadContinue reading “It’s Easy to Fall Under the Spell of ‘Gothic’”

Let ‘Bones’ Take You for a ‘Drive’

I feel like just about everyone knows an odd old woman with passionate interest in niche subjects like bark beetles or William Blake, and no respect for the boundaries of others. Strange and nosy, but more or less harmless, as long as you don’t have an HOA. Yet from this familiar archetype, Olga Tokarczuk makes anContinue reading “Let ‘Bones’ Take You for a ‘Drive’”

‘City’ is Too Indulgent, but Does Linger

I love Elizabeth Gilbert’s work. Eat, Pray, Love came into my life at a very precise time of need and soothed and supported me in ways I didn’t think was possible from a book. Committed opened my eyes to facets of marriage and the history of matrimony that I didn’t know I didn’t know. AndContinue reading “‘City’ is Too Indulgent, but Does Linger”

‘Exhalation’ is a Breath of Fresh Air

The thing that is striking about Ted Chiang’s work is how well thought out everything is. His are not stories that blossom from a singular thought. His are not suppositions of a singular event spun out a different way. When reading his stories, you get a strong sense that the ideas and the characters areContinue reading “‘Exhalation’ is a Breath of Fresh Air”

Summer’s Over but ‘Beach Read’ Still Sizzles

I have mentioned before how I’m not usually drawn to romance novels (and Kath, if you’re reading, I’m sorry for being a disappointment). It’s not that I hate love, I just struggle with several aspects of the genre. Namely, the heavy reliance on miscommunications and deus ex machina to provide a happy ending, as wellContinue reading “Summer’s Over but ‘Beach Read’ Still Sizzles”