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nickelboy-1

“Nickel Boys” by Colson Whitehead

Reviewed by Adrienne Murr “The Nickel Boys” is, in short, an outstanding investigation into the role of race and racial prejudice in the lives of young boys during the 1960s. We follow the story of Elwood Curtis, a black teenager in Tallahassee. With his sights set on attending college courses in his best suit, a […]

thingsfallapart

“Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe

By Marc Murr This classic novel of African literature is the first in a trilogy that traces the colonization of Africa. Wrapped in rich mythology and delivered in a terse style, it unfolds in three levels of conflict. The universality of its appeal, however, is in the third, or macro, level – the individual versus […]

personalitybrokers

“The Personality Brokers” by Merve Emre

The Personality Brokers delves into the fascinating, yet strange, history of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality test. MBTI, by far the most popular personality test in the world, is used by Fortune 500 companies, universities, hospitals, churches, and the military. Through a series of innocuous questions which are geared to capture individual preferences, it […]

virgilwander

“Virgil Wander” by Leif Enger

Virgil Wander, the titular narrator of the novel, lives in the quaint, rustic, town of Greenstone, Minnesota on the shores of Lake Superior. By day, he serves as the city clerk, but by night, he is the proprietor of the Empress, a fledgling movie theater that specializes in projecting its exclusive and illegal film collection. […]

russianfive

“The Russian Five” by Keith Gave

The Russian Five, written by Detroit sports journalist Keith Gave, recounts the story of the Detroit Red Wings of the 1980s and the early- to mid-90s. The team was stuck in a long losing streak. It had not won the championship since 1955. The morale of the players and fans was abysmal – so bad they […]

onearth

“On Earth We Are Briefly Gorgeous” by Ocean Vuong

Book Review by Marc Murr Ostensibly, this poetic novel is written as a letter from the author to his mother. In reality, I think the author has written a letter to himself. Thus, in a more complicated way, On Earth We Are Briefly Gorgeous is of that literary genre that explores the theme of initiation. […]

theoverstory

“The Overstory” by Richard Powers

Book Review by Carol Biedrzycki of The Overstory by Richard Powers   The Overstory is a wild ride. It is written in rich prose. I frequently found myself backtracking to make sure I got the point. I’m also not ashamed to admit I learned a few new words like coeval and ursine. The Overstory is […]

myexlife

“My Ex-Life” by Stephen McCauley

In Stephen McCauley’s brilliant novel, “My Ex-Life”, David Hedges’ life has hit “a season of aggrieved discontent.” He helps San Francisco rich kids get into the colleges of their (parents’) choice – the legitimate way: essays, scoring high on entrance tests, and community service. Having to convince kids to care and parents to have realistic […]

gentlemaninmoscow

“A Gentleman in Moscow” by Amor Towles

It is rare to find an individual who has not secretly dreamed of checking themselves into a hotel for an extended period of time with no plans whatsoever. A Gentleman in Moscow allows readers to live this fantasy. It’s June of 1922 when we first meet Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov, recipient of the Order of […]

beyondwords

“Beyond Words” by Carl Safina

Review by Andrew Kuharevicz Beyond Words (nonfiction) is about those ideas and thought processes that take place without speech, i.e. without words. This is the notion of “mind reading” in cognitive science, and it is applied to the animal world. We’re not talking about psychic abilities and science fiction, but rather, how we can tell […]

fivecaratsoul

“Five-Carat Soul” by James McBride

Fiction writers create worlds with words – time, setting, mood, characters, meaning – hopefully delivered with an emotional impression. James McBride proved himself a deft creator of worlds with the National Book Award-winning novel The Good Lord Bird. The challenge with short stories is creating multiple meaningful worlds in just a few pages each. With […]

againstthecountry

“Against the Country” by Ben Metcalf

Review by Andrew H. Kuharevicz “Here, then, is what I learned on, or because of, the American schoolbus:” Above is an opening line to an early chapter in the “novel”, Against The Country, by Ben Metcalf (country being rural surrounded by small town). It’s a difficult, award winning book (Ten best books of the year, […]

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