Red Rising by Piece Brown is the first in a trilogy and follows Darrow as he tries to escape his upbringing and fulfill his destiny.

books that fail to touch the binder clip in my chest where my heart should be – book reviews for the week

Just finished Red Rising and Golden Son (Books 1 and 2 of the Red Rising trilogy) by Pierce Brown I didn’t have high hopes for Red Rising when I started, but I’d heard so many good things about it that I wanted to give it a fair shot. Both Ender’s Game and The Hunger Games are referenced in blurbs […]

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Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler is a tense and disturbing girl-in-the-city tale.

horses, magic and that self-destructive waitress crying in the wine cellar – book reviews for the week

Just finished All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy I’ve read All the Pretty Horses before, but when it came up as Clair’s pick for the next book club book, I was happy to dive into the world of wistful cowboys again. All the Pretty Horses is probably the plottiest of the McCarthy books that I’ve read, but the […]

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cat daddies, Iran, Serena takes a lover – book reviews for the week

I’ve been away, physically and mentally, for a couple of weeks and I’m struggling a bit to get back into a productive routine. Trenton and I spent five days at an amazing music festival and then, after catching a cold from one of the 55,000 dirty hippies there, I spent the next five days recovering. […]

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The Circle by Dave Eggers tells the improbable story of Mae Holland, a horror-movie victim trapped in a techno-thriller.

liberal arts education fails Mae Holland – book reviews for the week

Just finished The Circle by Dave Eggers As a parable cautioning against the perils of privacy loss in the digital age, The Circle fails miserably. I’m inclined to be generous to Eggers, though, and if you set aside the notion that he has anything prescient or insightful to say about big data, sharing, or online privacy (he […]

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The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson tells the story of the Fangs, and the unpredictable and sometimes traumatic art they create together

very different ways to deal with traumatic family histories – book reviews for the week

Just finished Kindred by Octavia E. Butler Once I settled into the writing style, I really enjoyed this book. It tells the story of Dana, a black woman from the 70s who travels back in time to protect one of her white, slave-owning ancestors. When Dana first travels back to save Rufus, he’s just a boy. Later […]

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The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck tells the story of the Joad family as they try to make a new life for themselves out west during the Dust Bowl

embracing and avoiding books by white guys – book reviews for the week

Just finished The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck It feels a little silly to attempt to say anything at all about such a classic piece of literature. I’m happy to report that I really enjoyed reading it, and I’m glad I hung onto it all these years after 11th grade English. The dialogue is written dialectally, […]

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Heart of a Dog by Mikhail Bulgakov is a satirical allegory of the Russian Revolution, telling the absurd story of a dog implanted with the testes and pituitary gland of a recently dead man

reading YA and pretending to understand obtuse Russian literature – book reviews for the week

Just finished Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell This book was a special treat that I’d been saving as a sweet palate cleanser between two much more challenging novels (Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The Sympathizer and Mikhail Bulgakov’s Heart of a Dog). It served its purpose well, but I didn’t love it as much as the other Rainbow Rowell books […]

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The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen tells the story of a communist sleeper agent after the Vietnam War

revolutionary allegories to wash out the aftertaste of misogyny – book reviews for the week

Just finished This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper I’m not sure how to talk objectively about this misogynistic piece of garbage without revealing my bias. Whoops. See? There I go already. It’s like a Mad Libs Frankenstein monster of every book you’ve ever read by a white guy before 2010. Dad didn’t say much growing […]

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The Bricks that Built the Houses is written by British poet and rapper Kate Tempest

women in books, bit of a mixed bag – book reviews for the week

Just finished Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood Grace Marks was a real person, a maid convicted of the murder of her employer, Thomas Kinnear, in 1843. She was originally sentenced to death but ended up in an insane asylum, briefly, before spending 30 years in prison and eventually being pardoned. When I was reading this book last […]

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Augustus is a historical fiction novel written in epistolary form by John Williams, telling the story of Rome's first emperor

off-brand classics – book reviews for the week

Just finished Augustus by John Williams Book club selection this month was an unlikely choice. I’m grateful for the diversion off our typical, contemporary path because I definitely would never have picked up this book otherwise. My knowledge of Roman history is spotty at best (largely informed by Shakespeare), so I didn’t know the story or […]

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