Stay With Me by Ayòbámi Adébáyò
Challenges / Contemporary Fiction / Diverse Reads / First Novels / New to Me Author / Review Requests and ARCs

Stay With Me by Ayòbámi Adébáyò

I found this book about a marriage in Nigeria fascinating and meaningful, although it wasn’t quite what I expected. The story begins with a married couple who now live apart.  Yejide is going to see her husband after many years for his father’s funeral. Then the story takes us back to the early years of … Continue reading

Challenges / Diverse Reads / New to Me Author / Part of a Series / Science Fiction

Science Fiction and Fantasy Mini-Reviews

This summer I’ve been reading a lot of great science fiction and fantasy.  This batch is all science fiction, although I’m finding the distinction is somewhat blurred in a lot of what I read.  I suppose that’s because I don’t read too much traditional science fiction (which I think of as relying on technological and … Continue reading

Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance
Challenges / Highly Recommended / New to Me Author / Nonfiction: Memoir

Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance

I liked this book a lot more than I expected to, and I find myself referring to it often.  It’s well-written and Vance tells his story in an engaging and meaningful way.  More importantly, he humanizes the people living in the Appalachian area while not idealizing them.  In fact, he argues very clearly that this … Continue reading

Science Fiction and Fantasy Mini-Reviews
Challenges / Fantasy / Fluffy Summer Travel Reads / Part of a Series / Science Fiction

Science Fiction and Fantasy Mini-Reviews

Here are three more science fiction and fantasy mini-reviews, brought to you by the 20 Books of Summer Challenge.  Since it’s pretty difficult to review books that are part of series, I’m keeping these short.  I recommend all three if you’re looking for good, but not too heavy, summer reads. Good Omens: The Nice and … Continue reading

The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen
Award winners / Challenges / Diverse Reads / First Novels / Historical Fiction / New to Me Author

The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen

The Sympathizer is a first novel by Viet Thanh Nguyen, which won last year’s Pulitzer Prize for literature.  It’s a fascinating look at the Vietnam War and its aftermath from the perspective of the Vietnamese.  Right away it makes you realize how much Americans only see the Vietnam War from our own perspective, not those … Continue reading

A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry
Award winners / Challenges / Classic Literature / Diverse Reads / Highly Recommended / New to Me Author

A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

A Raisin in the Sun is a play by Lorraine Hansberry that debuted on Broadway in 1959. The New York Drama Critics’ Circle named it the best play of 1959. I read this powerful work for the Classics Book a Month challenge.   It’s the story of the Younger family, an African-American family living in … Continue reading

The Sound of Things Falling by Juan Gabriel Vásquez
Challenges / Diverse Reads / Historical Fiction / New to Me Author

The Sound of Things Falling by Juan Gabriel Vásquez

I read this book for the Read Around the World challenge, where a specific country is selected for each month.  May’s selection was Colombia.  Vasquez is a noted author in Colombia, having won numerous awards, primarily for this novel and for The Informants.  He studied law in Bogotá, Colombia and studied literature in Paris at … Continue reading

The Long Drop by Denise Mina
Challenges / Historical Fiction / New to Me Author / Recent Release / Review Requests and ARCs

The Long Drop by Denise Mina

This was a really interesting novel about a real-life serial killer in Scotland in the 1950’s.  I say interesting because it wasn’t quite like anything else I’ve read.  It’s not a mystery or a thriller, or a true crime novel.  It’s a little closer to Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, although I hesitate to compare … Continue reading

Reading the Bailey’s Longlist: The Lonely Hearts Hotel and The Gustav Sonata
Award winners / Challenges / Historical Fiction / New to Me Author / Recent Release

Reading the Bailey’s Longlist: The Lonely Hearts Hotel and The Gustav Sonata

Both of these books were on this year’s Bailey’s Prize for Women longlist, although neither made it to the shortlist (in addition to Hag-Seed). The winner of the Bailey’s Prize will be announced June 7. Though quite different, these two books had several things in common.  Both are historical fiction, both have a main character who … Continue reading

Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right
Challenges / New to Me Author / Nonfiction (Misc)

Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right

Like many of you, to say I was surprised by the results of the November election is a profound understatement.  What kept echoing through my mind the next day was this: why did so many people vote for a man whose policies will not benefit them?  I thought women wouldn’t vote for Trump because of … Continue reading