Fantastic and Realistic Blend Well in ‘What It Means’

A few years ago, I was mesmerized by a story from LeVar Burton Reads, “What It Means When a Man Falls From the Sky” by Lesley Nneka Arimah. It wasn’t just LeVar Burton’s performance, though that’s enough to make any writing magical (if you’re a writer in a rut, try imagining him narrating your proseContinue reading “Fantastic and Realistic Blend Well in ‘What It Means’”

‘Crawdads’ is as Lovely as its Marshland

For the last year or two, it seems like I’ve been seeing Where The Crawdads Sing EVERYWHERE. On all the best-of and bestseller lists. In the “popular” section of libraries (ah, remember libraries?) and in every airport gift shop (and airports!). Reading the short blurb about it, about a girl growing up on her ownContinue reading “‘Crawdads’ is as Lovely as its Marshland”

Wilderness, Human Nature Bring Danger in ‘Alone’

In the Alaskan wilderness, you can make one mistake, warn the residents of the fictional Alaskan town Kaneq. It’s the second mistake that will kill you. But that threat of the natural world is secondary to the danger the main characters face indoors in Kristin Hannah’s novel The Great Alone. And both sets of danger,Continue reading “Wilderness, Human Nature Bring Danger in ‘Alone’”

All’s Fair in Love and ‘War’

I’m not usually one for romances (feelings are just so…touchy-feely) but I am one for science fiction and games of cat and mouse. This is How You Lose the Time War has both—and manages to write about time travel in a way that didn’t create massive plot holes or leave the reader hopelessly confused. HereContinue reading “All’s Fair in Love and ‘War’”

Don’t Look Away from ‘Nothing to See Here’

Okay, so. There are these kids, and when they get upset, they light on fire. Like, literal fire. And a woefully inadequate stand-in for Mary Poppins has to figure out how to control it. Also, it’s really funny and kind of touching. That’s it. That’s the book. I was pretty sure when I started Nothing toContinue reading “Don’t Look Away from ‘Nothing to See Here’”

‘Butchering Art’ Makes Gore Fun

I love a good medical history. There’s just something about the collision of history and gore and progress that is fascinating. Deborah Blum’s The Poisoner’s Handbook is one of my favorite nonfictions ever (the PBS doc was fascinating, too) and I am very excited for The Mystery of the Exploding Teeth by Thomas Morris that’sContinue reading “‘Butchering Art’ Makes Gore Fun”

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’”

Open This Lovely (Heartbreaking) Door

My list has two door-themed titles on it and also I put them on the list a while ago, so I was not sure exactly which one Laura Ruby’s Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All was. As it turned out, it didn’t matter, because what I got was as lovely as it was heartbreaking. InContinue reading “Open This Lovely (Heartbreaking) Door”

Now Apparitioning in a Photo Near You!

The Apparitionists: A Tale of Phantoms, Fraud, Photography, and the Man Who Captured Lincoln’s Ghost was one of those books that was on my list for so long that I forgot what it was about until I checked it out and started reading. I love it when that happens. It’s basically just getting a personalizedContinue reading “Now Apparitioning in a Photo Near You!”