The Illumination, a review

Imagine a world where suddenly and inexplicably the sick and injured begin to emit light.  Open wounds shine like flash lights, acne sparkles like glitter, leukemia patients shimmer and glow, and muscle tension can be seen “twisting like algae in an underwater current.” This is the stunning phenomenon that drives Kevin Brockmeier’s The Illumination.  Though labeled a novel, … Continue reading The Illumination, a review

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

Sheltering, Part 4

We’ve all been “sheltering” now, to one degree or another, for seven and a half months.  Initially I was both alarmed and secretly pleased—because suddenly I could be my introvert self without apology.  My biggest fear was that the whole thing would end too soon—before I completed the half-finished novel I’d been sitting on for the past … Continue reading Sheltering, Part 4

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

Ordination

It was pointed out to me in recent years that the Catholic Church has seven sacraments for men but only six for women.  I already knew that, but I had never thought it about it in quite that way before.  For all you non-Catholics out there, sacraments are sacred rituals to mark initiations, milestones, and … Continue reading Ordination

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

How Madelaine Survives Quarantine

Written with my Thursday night writing group (now meeting on Zoom!) with the prompts:  one red shoe and oh, dear. Madelaine wore one red shoe and one green shoe because it was Christmas and she was in a wild holiday mood.  She wondered, do cats see color?—because it was only the cats who would see … Continue reading How Madelaine Survives Quarantine