Category Archives: Contemporary

Goodbye, Vitamin

 As this novel by Rachel Khong begins, it’s Christmas, and Ruth is spending her first Christmas in years with her family. Her fiancé has recently dumped her for another woman, and she’s been bouncing from one relationship to another. And … Continue reading

Posted in Contemporary, Fiction | 4 Comments

Her Body and Other Parties

It’s hard for me to describe how much I enjoyed this book — how much this book was completely and totally up my alley — because the alley is kind of… specific. Does it bother authors when they get compared … Continue reading

Posted in Contemporary, Fiction, Speculative Fiction | 6 Comments

Await Your Reply

I didn’t know what to expect from this book when I picked it up. I went through nearly a decade believing that Dan Chaon wrote horror novels, and then I saw that he’d won a Pushcart Prize and had been … Continue reading

Posted in Contemporary, Fiction | 8 Comments

American Street

Fabiola was born in the US, but has grown up in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, all her life. Now she and her mother are returning to the US, hoping for la belle vie — the good life. But despite preparing all their … Continue reading

Posted in Children's / YA Lit, Contemporary, Fiction | 2 Comments

The Boat Rocker

I picked Ha Jin’s The Boat Rocker off the library shelf on a whim, something I rarely do these days. It turned out to be a short whirlwind of a book, exploring ideas of national identity, patriotism, free speech, fraud, … Continue reading

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Home Fire

Kamila Shamsie’s gut-punching update of the story of Antigone is all about competing loyalties. There’s loyalty to family, to country, to faith, to moral principles, to the law, to love. These loyalties are in tension, and each character balances those … Continue reading

Posted in Contemporary, Fiction | 6 Comments

Autumn

I’m tired of the news. I’m tired of the way it makes things spectacular that aren’t, and deals so simplistically with what’s truly appalling. I’m tired of the vitriol. I’m tired of the anger. I’m tired of the meanness. I’m … Continue reading

Posted in Contemporary, Fiction | 14 Comments

How It Went Down

This novel by Kekla Magoon begins with a brief description of the incident: The known facts about the shooting death of sixteen-year-old Tariq Johnson are few. On the evening of June 2, at approximately 5:30 P.M., Johnson sustained two nine-millimeter … Continue reading

Posted in Children's / YA Lit, Contemporary, Fiction | 4 Comments

The Fireman

In January, Teresa published a review of Joe Hill’s latest book, The Fireman. I had already been planning to read it, since I’ve read and enjoyed most of what he’s written, but her review made me really excited about it. … Continue reading

Posted in Contemporary, Fiction, Speculative Fiction | 9 Comments

The Animators

Mel Vaught and Sharon Kisses first met in Introduction to Sketch class at the Ballister Art Institute, a school populated mostly by the wealthy. Mel and Sharon, with their rural poor origins, were out of place until they found each other and … Continue reading

Posted in Contemporary, Fiction | 2 Comments