‘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”

‘Don’t Want to Die’ Isn’t Poor on Prose

If there’s one thing Michael Arceneaux isn’t, it’s coy. His second collection of essays, I Don’t Want to Die Poor, minces no words as he talks about the dire financial straits he found himself in after college and the various ways debt has made his life harder. Through that lens, he talks in about sexContinue reading “‘Don’t Want to Die’ Isn’t Poor on Prose”

Rolling in ‘The Deep’

On my TBR is The Deep. No author, but it’s in with the 2019 stuff, so I wasn’t worried about finding it. Unfortunately (or fortunately), there were actually two books titled The Deep published in 2019 and both look like something I’d put on my TBR list. Since I couldn’t remember which one I meantContinue reading “Rolling in ‘The Deep’”

More Nightmare than Dream in ‘House’

I’ve been recommending Carmen Maria Machado’s In the Dream House to people for months. To the classmate trying to find a way of writing a memoir of her time in the Air Force without resurrecting her past too much. To the colleague arguing that  Choose Your Own Adventures weren’t an effective form of storytelling. To theContinue reading “More Nightmare than Dream in ‘House’”

Want Nightmares? Try ‘Infidel’

I love graphic novels. Love ‘em, love ‘em, love ‘em. When I was a kid, I’d look over the comics in the newspaper every day even though I didn’t yet know how to read. When I got older and inherited my uncle’s mouse-nibbled stash of superhero and Archie comic books from the 1970s, that loveContinue reading “Want Nightmares? Try ‘Infidel’”

Character, not Plot, Drives ‘Pachinko’

This one’s been on the list for a while, but I finally got to the tragic darling that I got on the digital library hold list for, like, seven months ago. (At a certain point, I probably should have just bought it, but I’ve been busy living in a global pandemic and all.) As itContinue reading “Character, not Plot, Drives ‘Pachinko’”

Aging and Loss With Arms Wide Open

One of the most frightening things about growing older is the uncertainty: which terrible ailment(s) will I or my loved ones suffer with in their twilight years? Will my body be ravaged by time or will I lose my mind? Both? Neither, because I’ve planned on going out with a bang a la Secondhand Lions?Continue reading “Aging and Loss With Arms Wide Open”