‘All My Rage’ Mends Heartbreak with Hope

I loved all four of Sabaa Tahir’s volumes in her Ember in the Ashes series, a YA fantasy following a pair of unlikely teens to an eventual revolution against the cruel and oppressive regime inspired by the Roman Empire. But I was also always fascinated by her bio at the back and the fact thatContinue reading “‘All My Rage’ Mends Heartbreak with Hope”

‘LaserWriter II’ Probably Perfect for Someone Else

Growing up, my grandparents’ basement was a wonderland of old Macintosh computers. My grandpa taught computers at the junior high school, which meant he had to be up on the best and latest tech. In his opinion, this meant Macintoshes. He retired in the early 90s, though, so the computers stopped at the Macintosh SE.Continue reading “‘LaserWriter II’ Probably Perfect for Someone Else”

‘Little Eyes’ Not Looking to be Liked

Growing up, my little sisters had a Furby. It was one of the first-gen ones, not these smarter, freakier modern things, but it would still say things that seemed way too canny for being a hunk of plastic and fake fur. In Samanta Schweblin’s Little Eyes, the Furby-like creatures in question can’t speak, but theyContinue reading “‘Little Eyes’ Not Looking to be Liked”

‘Sennen’ More than Meets the Eye

It can be tough to pull off a good “world you thought you knew is actually walled off from the ‘real world’” story, and even tougher to make it feel fresh and new and thought-provoking. Sennen, the debut graphic novel by illustrator Shanti Rai, does all this alongside nailing a strong coming-of-age story in anContinue reading “‘Sennen’ More than Meets the Eye”

‘Dirty Work’ is a Sobering Reminder of What Lurks in the Economic Shadows

Commercial butchering, oil drilling, being a guard at a prison—they’re tough jobs but someone’s got to do them. But in the case of Dirty Work, author Eyal Press argues that the social stigma against these types of work means we collectively don’t have to consider the cost or the moral weight that gets placed on theContinue reading “‘Dirty Work’ is a Sobering Reminder of What Lurks in the Economic Shadows”

‘Dragons’ A Poignant Commentary on Sexism, Self

My day job right now has me looking through lots of records—many primary sources—on the ways heteronormative gender roles were constructed and enforced during the midcentury decades. Looking back at the rigid structure our collective grandmothers were expected to squeeze into, and the lack of rights they had within it, is both sobering and enragingContinue reading “‘Dragons’ A Poignant Commentary on Sexism, Self”

‘Crane Wife’ Questions Identity, Relationships

No close relationship is totally straightforward; that’s impossible whenever two people entwine themselves around each other for whatever purpose. But romantic relationships, and the relationships we have with ourselves as beings who may get into romantic relationships, are fraught with all manner of expectations and suppositions—often implicit and inherited from our families and/or the societyContinue reading “‘Crane Wife’ Questions Identity, Relationships”

‘Paradise Falls’ an Eerie, Relevant Tale

If you were to make a list of worst places to build an elementary school surrounded by a neighborhood geared toward young families, you might include Chernobyl, an alligator-infested swamp, maybe an old minefield.  For the residents depicted in Keith O’Brian’s newest book, Paradise Falls, the extremely terrible and wholly unsafe place is an oldContinue reading “‘Paradise Falls’ an Eerie, Relevant Tale”

‘Thief’ A Fun Heist Worth of the Genre

Go big or go home, as they say, and that’s a motto adopted by many crews on the way to a heist. After all, there’s no point in risking arrest if the payout (in cash, reputation, or revenge) won’t be worth it. In Grace D. Li’s Portrait of a Thief, the equation of visibility ofContinue reading “‘Thief’ A Fun Heist Worth of the Genre”