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When the Emperor Was Divine (Julie Otsuka)

Somehow I had never heard of Julie Otsuka’s novel When the Emperor Was Divine. It was, in a word, lovely. Otsuka writes prose infused with poetry. Her unnamed protagonists, who are innocent victims caught in the historical net of Japanese American Internment in the United…

This Is Where I Leave You (Jonathan Tropper)

I was in Trident Booksellers in Boston this January when I saw Jonathan Tropper’s book on the shelf. It was colorful, it felt good in my hands, and it was on sale. I needed a light read. Boy, did I ever pick up the right…

The Undrowned Child (Michelle Louvric)

I was browsing the shelves of Libreria Toletta in Venice, Italy, when this book caught my eye. Truth be told, I wasn’t keen on picking up another young adult novel just then, but there it was — beautiful cover and all. And I’m really glad…

Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day (Ben Loory)

This book is difficult to classify, which you may have gleaned from the long list of tags I’ve attempted to use to categorize it. GOOD FOR:  people in need of a little imagination, readers with little to no time, and anyone interested in thinking of…

The Family Fang (Kevin Wilson)

I love this book. I found it in my favorite local bookstore back home: the Book Loft in Solvang, California. (Best bookstore ever, btw.) In any case, something about The Family Fang made it impossible for me to put the book down once I’d picked it…

Silver Sparrow (Tayari Jones)

One of my professors/colleagues recommended this book to me, and it was a good read. I’ve tagged it as a young adult book, mostly because the protagonist is a young adult. I’m not sure that’s really how I should classify it, though. It deals with…

The Ravickians (Renee Gladman)

This is the second book in Renee Gladman’s Ravicka trilogy, and (like Event Factory) I don’t really know what to make of it. Interesting, for sure. Mysterious as well. I’ll have to wait for the third book to come out to say much more. Overall, an intriguing…

Event Factory (Renee Gladman)

What do you do with a book like Event Factory? It’s odd. It’s not odd in the way some books are because of their subject matter; it’s odd because of how it’s constructed. How the words operate on the page. Well, and its subject matter.…

Vacation (Deb Olin Unferth)

My husband gave me Vacation for my birthday this year. He found it through the McSweeney’s website, which predisposed me to like the book. It was, without a doubt, a very unusual read. The prose was elegant and haunting, and even though the protagonist was somewhat…

Let Me In (John Ajvide Lindqvist)

I picked this book up in Boston’s Trident Booksellers. I didn’t intend to get a vampire novel. Nor did I intend to get a Swedish-authored book (usually when I travel, I seek out books by local authors in independently-owned bookstores). And yet, there it was.…