RaveShelf AwarenessIf turning scraps of ancient papyrus into an enthralling true-crime escapade takes a miracle, consider Ariel Sabar a miracle worker ... [Sabar] transforms top-notch research skills into riveting suspense ... Sabar scales mountains of primary documents, wades through hours of interviews, uncovers intrigue in East Germany during the Cold War and falls through a startling looking-glass, to find a cuckold-fetish porn franchise with mystical notions about itself, all on his uncanny search for the truth about Jesus\'s alleged wife ... an extraordinary and mind-bending adventure into ancient traditions with modern consequences.
RaveShelf AwarenessSpanning most of the 19th century, Life of a Klansman is a nuanced case study of one cog within a machine of terrorism and oppression ... [an] engrossing biography ... In flexing his imagination, Ball creates a dynamic space for challenging reconciliation, breaking from the narrative periodically to reflect with empathy for family members acting in ways he abhors, yet never absolving them ... Never does the author lose sight of his complicit inheritance of privilege at the expense of black lives. Nor does he lose sight of the families fighting to be recognized as human ... Life of a Klansman removes the histrionic hoods and gazes purposefully into the frantic eyes of a homegrown terrorism.
Fernanda Melchor, Trans. by Sophie Hughes
RaveShelf Awareness... unforgettable ... Hughes translates from the Spanish, beautifully preserving Melchor\'s nearly uninterrupted prose, which conjures an intense gravity that can be difficult to escape ... menacing and longwinded sentences form the ferocious spiraling arms ... Melchor plays with storytelling as a malleable substance with such dexterity that even the coarsest language glimmers on the page. Prejudicial personal accounts blur into hearsay, into folklore and mythology, and back again, so that by its end this sensational novel resembles a profane gospel of human greed and betrayal. Its transgressions, however, are unmistakably rooted in frank depictions of poverty, need, abuse and addiction, begging empathy for nearly everyone involved. In La Matosa\'s economy of violence, Melchor makes awfully clear the ways women bear the most unforgiving burdens of exploitation. Yet Hurricane Season weathers it all into an exquisite work of art.
PositiveShelf Awareness... a riveting true crime saga ... With an even hand, [Callahan] details the power struggles between the Anchorage criminal justice system and the FBI as their cooperative efforts close in on the insidious Israel Keyes, who seems to have materialized out of thin air ... Callahan doesn\'t elide the truly gruesome nature of the violence in Keyes\'s wake; however, she still manages to maintain the dignity of those who lost their lives to this cruel individual\'s secret mission. American Predator reveals a horrifying truth about the human capacity for bloodlust.
RaveShelf Awareness... a holistic, compassionate understanding of the third stage of life ... [Aronson] exposes the default of ageism again and again in her meticulous consideration of medical and family networks, political policy, municipal oversights, capitalist ambition and nearly every other sector of life that comes in contact with (or at the expense of) the elderly ... dynamic, multifaceted and full of wonder. Aronson\'s writing flexes with vibrant energy as she discusses the ways she has seen the healthcare system neglect the overall well-being of her patients, her colleagues and herself ... Intimidating as it may seem, elderhood becomes welcoming and generous in Aronson\'s deft care.
RaveShelf AwarenessWith clever comedic timing and a self-possessed charm, McQuiston constructs rich sexual tension between two young men who ostensibly hate each other ... The bond McQuiston fashions between them is heartwarming and organic ... Passion characterizes every moment of this smart, mischievous, gratifying and sensitive novel. The punch lines are deft, the sex is steamy and the romance is stirring.
RaveShelf Awareness\"... a marvelous feat of the imagination ... Goldberg conjures unseen photographs with astounding skill, describing a body of work that captures Lillian\'s era as readily as it speaks to the author\'s own. Art can be a dangerous endeavor for creator and viewer alike; the greater the response, the more effective the piece. Feast Your Eyes inhabits this tension with immense grace and empathy, challenging the perennial urge to stifle what doesn\'t conform to a given community\'s standards. The consistently ambitious Goldberg has once again delivered a remarkable piece of literature. Feast your eyes, indeed; there is much to digest.\
G. Willow Wilson
RaveShelf-AwarenessWilson again rises to impressive new heights ... To say Wilson is a talented storyteller does not adequately capture the magnificent dimensions of her work. The adventure at hand is a riveting escape through worlds seen and unseen, with high stakes and near-misses, toward a freedom neither Fatima nor Hassan are sure they entirely believe in. Faith is all they have--besides one another. To that end, Wilson\'s characters are both rich and fallible, disrupting the spectrum of heroes and villains. The Bird King considers how power can corrupt virtue, and how easily corruption can be mistaken for piety ... But there is a hefty dose of humor, too, amid these ornate corridors of history and philosophy ... Whether it\'s the grand arena of clashing empires or a humble prayer mat in a quiet room, Wilson pays close attention to the gentle nuances of her subjects.
RaveShelf Awareness\"For Those Who Knew, poet, translator and novelist Idra Novey (Ways to Disappear) exercises her considerable talents in crafting lush, riveting threads, which she braids into a spectacular crime novel ... There may be an impulse to pin this story to a modern moment, a prominent movement of reckoning for men of intimidating and violent machinations. Those Who Knew, however, serves to remind readers that those who have known know now, as they did then and before then.\
Thomas Page McBee
RaveShelf AwarenessAmateur follows McBee...into his dogged investigation into what in fact makes a man. He steps into the ring as an amateur boxer after a brush with male aggression. His sights set on a charity fight several months away, he\'s driven by a desire to hone his skills in protecting himself, but more so by a burning question about why violence is so entwined with masculinity. Sociology professor Michael Kimmel suggests to him, \'Men tend to fight when they feel humiliated.... You don\'t fight when you feel really powerful.\' ... McBee ponders...sociological implications with refreshing care and empathy, untangling a positive depiction of masculinity from the toxic strains paraded through contemporary discourse ... Amateur is more than a boxing story, just as it\'s more than a trans narrative. It\'s a highly recommended case study in manhood.
Robert W. Fieseler
RaveShelf AwarenessJournalist Robert W. Fieseler salvages [an] unsettling moment in American history from the edge of forgetfulness in a remarkable, potent remembrance.... It\'s indescribably moving to learn in a final author\'s note that survivors hesitant to speak on the record for Tinderbox came forward with urgency after the Pulse massacre. Their testimonies, Fieseler\'s rigorous research and his amiable prose make this a vital, inspiring volume in the annals of gay history.
RaveShelf Awareness\"...a riveting and peculiar variation on coming of age ... The poetics of Emezi\'s prose enhance the mythology she evokes. As enchanting as it is unsettling, Freshwater tickles all six senses. The chorus of voices narrating Ada\'s life achieves a remarkable balance between cruel machinations of cavalier deities and deep empathy for the distressed vessel they inhabit ... dazzling.\
Anca L. Szilágyi
RaveShelf AwarenessSzilágyi writes sinewy, visceral prose. She evokes the noise, smells and grime of late 20th-century Brooklyn streets, the lush serenity in an Argentinian home prior to tragedy and a family shattered by a faceless political force. All the while, the specter of magical realism lurks just behind Pluta, enhancing the anxious nature of solitary adolescent fumbling, and complicating the hubris of her first independent steps. A striking debut from a writer to watch, Daughters of the Air is gritty yet gorgeous, severe yet convivial, as it navigates uncertain times in a treacherous world.