Book Reviews

Book Review: The Dream Hunter by Laura Kinsale

I love historical romance novels. If you come at me with any type of literary or cultural snobbery whatsoever (music, movie, TV, etc.), I will laugh you off as a pedestrian rube. And if you are a man and not reading historical romance novels, you are missing out on a trove of knowledge, sexual and otherwise. That and you are sexist—hashtag men are trash. I an’t kidding. Historical romance novels gave me a wealth of female cultural knowledge and education […]

Book Review: Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

I am the product of an abusive alcoholic father and family. This book and The Shining speak to me on an entirely other level. One with the puking, the violence, the rage, melancholy and moodiness, the fugues, the cruel silence with the banal abusive micro-aggressions, and on and on ad nauseam. I equate the shining with the non-verbal language and cues us codependents decipher and interpret in order to keep the peace. Or not get lit by a switch, a […]

Audio Book Review: Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

Narrated by Joe Morton aka Papa Pope, this audio book is probably one of my favorites. Joe Morton’s intensity and glorious acting skills succeed in making this a fantastic, riveting listen. Morton’s read is made all that more excellent by Ellison’s words and story. Hypnotic doesn’t do it justice. Stark and poetic, revealing and utterly transformational are mild understatements. If you come away from this disappointed, I question your wisdom and challenge your imagination. As with any audio book I […]

Book Review: Facing Unpleasant Facts: Narrative Essays by George Orwell

Most of the books I’ve reviewed so far I read months if not years ago. This one I recently finished. I did not realize that Orwell was such a superb essayist and journalist; perhaps even more so than his fiction. I would say a master; one of the best in his field. He writes with a clarity that’s rarely published nowadays. Authentic, forceful, and not the least bit misleading regarding his own preferences, he viscerally flays with crisp, sharp, detailed […]

Book Review: Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

David Mitchell is a god of words. A brilliant, utterly divine artist that pushes creative boundaries beyond akin to Shakespeare, Virginia Woolf, Marcel Proust, Mary Shelley and their more modern equivalents (to which I’ll go more into on future posts). When I first read Cloud Atlas, I waited for someone to jerk me from the blinding Utopian tunnel I suddenly found myself floundering, gasping in the radiance of such wit. It was all consuming. It pivoted my life into a […]

Book Review: The Secret History by Donna Tartt

This book was unputdownable. Intensely addictive. Thrilling. Philosophically and aesthetically deliberate—as is every Tartt novel. Privilege illustrated to an engrossing degree—glaringly elevating rich white entitlement and classism within the hallowed halls of even the most revered American educational institutions. How the perception and power of youth and events surrounding that experience evolve with time and hopefully, wisdom. How one story can indelicately frame your entire life—some of us more so than others; please keep this in mind while reading. I […]

Book Review: A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

I inhaled this book—it consumed me. This book left me raw. exposed, alive, shattered, and…human—so extraordinarily human. It lived and grew within me for weeks afterward and transformed me into something other, hypersensitive teeming with an abundance of grit and heart and life; something graceful that made my toes curl and my humanity multiply and fragment—my compassion and empathy soar. Yeah, it did. It really did. Forewarning: this book is agonizing and bleak. The trauma eviscerates. Hints of contentment and […]

Book Review: What You Are Getting Wrong About Appalachia by Elizabeth Catte

I made no secret that I didn’t care for J.D. Vance’s very narrow perspective and interpretation of Appalachian folks in Hillbilly Elegy. Not only was his judgment and words lacking in basic facts and empathy, Vance veils his problematic views as some kind of virtuous self-help bible for the pernicious bootstrap ethos and hard work ethic that he believes most of us other hillbillies lack. He uses that old tired recycled conservative trope of stereotyping poverty as a moral failure. […]

Book Review: Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places by Colin Dickey

Once again, we have an author lifting up the language and unspoken stories of the oppressed; examining the perspectives and circumstances of the alternate embellished—often compelling—history to the voices and narratives silenced; scrutinizing the actual ghost tale told by the oppressors or the oppressed, the victims or the perpetrators; anecdotes transformed over time—made mythical by their troublesome and often exploitative and dehumanized actions—for entertainment purposes and to make the injustices feel more palatable about horrific actions and the absolution that […]

Book Review: SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome by Mary Beard

SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome by Mary Beard is such an immense read that I’m still reading it. I didn’t wanna wait to write about it though while experiencing just how important a read her words are given how germane history relates to our present and the total lack of historical awareness people have today. I wonder if there’s a current correlation in world events? /sarcasm Mary Beard is brilliant in her knowledge and writing of the material in […]

Book Review: The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal

The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal is an alluring and infuriating must read. From the socio-political themes to the catastrophic extinction level event that requires immediate action—all currently, highly relevant and related—the plot focuses on the main character’s quest to become an astronaut after a meteorite strikes off the coast of D.C. causing a rise in temperatures that will ultimately lead to an unoccupiable Earth. Sound familiar? The first couple of chapters are riveting. Character driven, the book converges […]