Deacon King Kong, a review

In the first paragraph of Deacon King Kong by James McBride, the title character, aka Cuffy “Sportcoat” Lambkin, shoots a young drug dealer on the plaza of a public housing project where they both live in 1969 New York City.  The surprise is that a story with such a gritty opening turns out to be a genuine, feel-good, … Continue reading Deacon King Kong, a review

Read-Aloud Picture Books

Last week I listed a few of my favorite books for cold weather reading and gifting.  This week, allow me to tell you about a few of my favorite read-aloud picture books for kids.  These are all books I loved to read to my students when I was teaching, and I feel safe in saying they’re modern … Continue reading Read-Aloud Picture Books

Celebrating Books

I’ve heard it said that Russian novels are so long because Russian winters are so cold!  What better way to spend time inside than reading a book?  In Iceland I hear there’s a tradition of gifting family and friends with books and chocolate so they may take to their beds cozy and satisfied for a long … Continue reading Celebrating Books

Earthseed, a review

Goodreads had a Facebook post a week or so ago asking readers to “describe the book you’re currently reading in one word.”  I’m generally too verbose to succeed with such restrictions, but this time it was easy. The Earthseed Series by the late African American science fiction writer Octavia Butler is like nothing else out there—and … Continue reading Earthseed, a review

Beach Reads Without the Beach

Last night I finished reading Travels With My Aunt by Graham Greene.  Things being what they are in the world, I’ve been having a bit of trouble focusing on anything more challenging than Big Bang Theory reruns, so I was looking for something light and maybe even funny.  This popped up as a dollar ninety-nine … Continue reading Beach Reads Without the Beach

Fall On Your Knees, a book review

Fall On Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald is a larger than life story, a convoluted tale of family secrets and lies.  At least three times in the novel the action occurs in clumps, and over the course of a few days or even a single night, there is more family melodrama than all of Shakespeare’s … Continue reading Fall On Your Knees, a book review

The Dutch House, a review

The Amazon tagline describes this novel by Ann Patchett as the story of a family that goes from poverty to riches to poverty and back to riches again.  Well, yeah, but that hardly prepares us for the plot of this book.  More than a few reviewers call it a fairy tale.  I just didn’t see … Continue reading The Dutch House, a review

Little Fires Everywhere, a consideration of race and class in America

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng is a well-written, topical book, an engrossing read, and the basis for a brand-new series starring Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon on Hulu.  I want to tell you what I think about it, but let’s face it, I’m sure you can go online or pick up a TV guide … Continue reading Little Fires Everywhere, a consideration of race and class in America

The World That We Knew, a review

Alice Hoffman’s “The World That We Knew” is an achingly beautiful fairy tale about the Holocaust.  Her novel emphasizes the plight of children separated from their parents:  Jewish children and the offspring of Resistance Fighters hiding with false ID’s in convent schools; others roaming by themselves or in small groups in the forest, foraging for … Continue reading The World That We Knew, a review

Little Women, a consideration

I can’t remember the number of times I’ve read Little Women.  I’m pretty sure I read it at least twice when I was a kid, but perhaps it was three times or more.  I read it again in my late 20s/early 30s when the book group I’d formed with friends decided to read it—or I … Continue reading Little Women, a consideration