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Sunday, June 17, 2018

*****Chronicle of the Murdered House by LĂșcio Cardoso

●Translated from the Portuguese by Margaret Jull Costa & Robin Patterson
Winner of the 2017 Best Translated Book Award Longlisted for the 2017 National Translation Award

A multilayered novel filled with deceptive twists and turns and a rich, opulent  narrative. Take your time with this Brazilian gem!

Monday, May 7, 2018

*****Mourning by Eduardo Halfon

Halfon’s prose is pure elegance. It falls off the pages quietly, yet powerfully.  Storytelling as subject and method is important to the author. To tell one's story is to mark it in history - to testify - so it will not be forgotten.  Halfon uses writing to dissect his ancestral story and work through his Jewish history, especially as it relates to his maternal grandfather and the Holocaust.  The outcome is beautiful, sometimes satiric and often hauntingly sad. It is an exceptional work of literature.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

****The Distance Between Us, A Memoir, by Reyna Grande

A powerful novel that describes the immigrant experience - from poverty, dreams of the "other land" and lack of opportunity to opportunity and success. These factors combined with parental abuse, abandonment and alcoholism render the struggle even more difficult. Considering our current political status regarding immigration, this is a highly relevant novel that could help those who villify our nations immigrants understand what it means and costs to hope for a better life.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

***House of Rougeaux Early Review

House of Rougeaux is an engaging, well written multi-generational family saga. The author explores key issues relating to slavery, racial and gender discrimination, homosexuality and family.  At times the book suffers from heavy- handed literary stratagems, yet is overshadowed by Jaeckel‘s skill at storytelling. Keep an eye out for future work by this talented new author.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

*****The Nothing by Hanif Kureishi

● Early Review
●To be published January 2018
●English Literature

Darkly humorous and wickedly sad, The Nothing is a brilliant Shakespearean-like tale; it has all the elements: obsession, revenge, treachery and an edge of madness.  The narrative reads like a hypnotic whirlwind; it is focused and determined, compelling the reader to absorb all its pages in one sitting. I thoroughly enjoyed this novella and look forward to exploring additional books by Kureishi.

Friday, November 10, 2017

*****Thirteen Ways of Looking by Colum McCann

Irish Literature

McCann has a sometimes witty, lyrical, captivating and multilayered narrative. He writes with depth and an ironical sense of tranquility. I am embarrassed to admit that this is the first book of McCann’s I have ever read. It will not be the last. He is definitely an author I will continue to explore!

Monday, October 2, 2017

***The Boat Runner by Devin Murphy

●Published 2017
●American Literature
● Early Reviewer

This coming of age war story is a powerful page turner. While it successfully deals with Holland’s invasion and occupation by Nazi Germany and the loyalty struggles the Dutch were faced with, it also addresses the unspeakable human savagery that takes place during war. As I read this book, I was reminded of a statement I heard on Ken Burns' ongoing Vietnam documentary (paraphrased): Tigers kill, but only to eat, where humans kill simply to murder. No one wins during war, as this novel aptly reveals. A worthwhile read.

*****Chronicles of a Blood Merchant by Yu Hua

●1995 original publication date
●Chinese Literature 
●Translated from the Chinese by Andrew F. Jones

*****Death in Spring by Merce Rodoreda

  • Merce Rodoreda: 1908-1983
  • Catalonian Literature
  • Translated from the Catalan by Martha Tennent
  • First published in Catalonia 1986; in English 2009

Books Read July 1 - December 31, 2017

**Behold the Dreamersby Imbolo Mbue, 2017, audiobook, African Literature

*****Down Below, by Leonora Carrington, 1987, Mexican and English Literature, 1988

****Reading Haven, by Ruth Gruber,  1983, American Autobiography

*****The Dinner,  by Herman Koch, 2013, audiobook,  Dutch Literature 

*****The Nothing, by Hanif Kureishi, 2017, Early Review,  British Literature 

****This Side of Brightnessby Colum McCann, 1997, Irish Literature  

*****TransAtlantic by Colum McCann, 2013, Irish Literature   

*****Let the Great World Spin, by Colum McCann,  2009, Irish Literature 

*A great and Godly Adventure,  The Pilgrim 's and the Myth of the First Thanksgiving, by Godfrey Hodgson, 2006, American History 

*****A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amory Townes, 2016, audiobook,  American Literature

*****Thirteen Ways of Looking, by Colum McCann, 2015, Irish Literature 

****Hold Still, A Memoir With Photographs, by Sally Mann, 2015, American Memoir

***The Boat Runner, by Devin Murphy, 2017, Early Review, American Literature 

***The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, by Lisa See, 2017, audiobook, American Chinese Literature

****Sweet Bean Paste, by Durian Sukegawa, 2017, translated from the Japanese by Alison Watts, Early Reviewer, Japanese Literature 

****Tirza,, by Arnold Grunberg, 2006, translated from the Dutch by Sam Garrett, Dutch Literature

****When Nietzsche Wept, by Irvin Donna. Yalom, 1992, American Literature 

****A Monster Calls, by Patrick Ness, 2011, Young Adult Fiction  

*****Fortunes of War, The Balkan Trilogy, by Olivia Manning, 1960, English Literature

**Small Great Things, by Jody Picoult, 2016, American Fiction 

***A Painted House by John Grisham, 2001, audiobook,  American Fiction

****Reading with Patrick: A Teacher, a Student, and a Life-Changing Friendshipby Michelle Kuo, 2017, Early Review, American Memoir 

*****Chronicles of a Blood Merchant by Yu Hua, 1995, translated from the Chinese by Andrew F. Jones, Chinese Literature 

***Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, 2016, American Literature 

Men Without Women, by Haruki Murakami, audio book, 2017, translated from the Japanese by Philip Gabriel and Ted Goossen, Japanese Literature

Currently Reading Clarissa, or The History of a Young Lady, by Samuel Richardson, 1748, (from 2014 Reading List), English Literature