PositiveShelf AwarenessSensitive ... Wryly humorous and often tender, Flores and Miss Paula explores the generational divide between two strong women, the effects of grief, and the possibilities of change.
Lisa M. Hamilton
RaveShelf AwarenessAn intimate, thoughtful portrait ... Deft ... Extensively researched, nuanced, and compassionate, The Hungry Season is a detailed look at an immigrant experience often overlooked ... A gripping narrative.
PositiveShelf AwarenessThis powerful and down-to-earth memoir is a vital glimpse into a set of experiences common to many Americans, and it\'s a celebration of the strength found in owning every part of a multifaceted identity
Drew Gilpin Faust
RaveShelf AwarenessEngaging and thoughtful, with vivid details and a wry sense of humor, Necessary Trouble is a nuanced portrait of midcentury America and an exploration of the ways it directly foreshadowed--and even created--our current political moment.
PositiveShelf Awareness\"...both a compassionate family saga and an account of medicine, politics, art, women\'s rights, and the legacy of British colonialism in India ... Vast in scope and also surprisingly intimate, Verghese\'s novel covers most of the 20th century in India, but is ultimately the story of a family--blood and chosen--caring for each other through all of life\'s challenges and changes.
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
RaveShelf AwarenessDivakaruni skillfully moves from her focus mainly on her characters\' daily lives to zoom out and comment on widespread violence and unrest in the months before and after Partition ... Lyrical and richly detailed, Independence explores the implications of its title not only for a country, but for the young women who must learn to deal with a perilous, exciting new world.
Jamie K McCallum
PositiveShelf AwarenessInsightful, thought-provoking and peppered with helpful statistics and charts, Essential is both a clarion call to improve the lives of the working class and a primer on how their prosperity--or lack of it--is tied to the fate of all Americans.
PositiveShelf Awareness... compelling, thoughtful ... In powerful, insightful prose, Ryan shows readers why the accomplishments of Black women matter now more than ever ... In the wake of the racism and sexism that have characterized the Trump era, Ryan calls on all Americans to do better: to listen to, respect and celebrate Black women. Her book is an important step forward in that conversation.
RaveShelf AwarenessThoughtful ... It also provides broader meditations on friendship and building community, as well as a candid glimpse into Washington insider politics and the challenges of being a woman in that male-driven environment ... She explores the different aspects of friendship against the backdrop of highly educated, highly political Washington circles, emphasizing the simple acts of care that deepen a bond: listening, sharing meals, showing up ... Totenberg\'s warm recollection of their years together reveals a different side of Ruth ... Readers will come away with a fuller portrait of RBG, but also a wonderful rendering of Totenberg\'s friendships and perhaps a deeper appreciation for their own.
RaveShelf Awareness... stunning ... Drawing on her firsthand experience of south Texas and its communities, Garza immerses her readers in sensory details ... Garza highlights the diverse origins and worldviews behind the brown faces of Texas\'s south coast, and celebrates their quiet resilience, ingenuity and strength. She follows their stories, but leaves some ends hanging loose; these characters, like their communities, are too complex for tidy endings ... Evocative, sometimes heartbreaking and full of rich descriptions, The Last Karankawas is a love letter to the Galveston most tourists never see and a tribute to the people who sustain, and are sustained by, their adopted homeland.
PositiveShelf AwarenessRisbridger rambles in slightly sideways and usually charming fashion ... Watercolor illustrations bring the recipes to life, contributing to the book\'s slightly dreamy feel. Risbridger\'s recipes, both in form and content, swing between simple and fiddly, though all are within reach of dedicated home cooks. While metric measurements may confuse American readers, Risbridger gives plenty of hints and helpful tips, making the narrative sound even more like standing in a kitchen with a chatty friend ... Risbridger writes sensitively about grief.
PositiveShelf AwarenessAs Brown writes in her author\'s note, adoption is a multilayered subject, and this one slice leaves out many of the larger forces affecting adoptive families. But her characters wrestle convincingly and compassionately with the challenges of their particular experience. Thoughtful, compelling and ultimately hopeful, Any Other Family asks hard and necessary questions about adoption, privilege and what truly makes a family.
PositiveShelf Awareness... sharp-eyed ... From the crowded streets of Addis Ababa to the basketball courts of Brooklyn, Hadero--who was born in Ethiopia and came to the U.S. as a child refugee--explores displacement, immigration, the plight of refugees and the deeply human longing for home and community. Told with fierce honesty and compassion, Madero\'s collection lives up to its title, providing a flavorful, nourishing feast.
RaveShelf AwarenessBayard deftly portrays the classism of high society in the 1950s; the competing snobberies of Jackie\'s mother and Jack\'s father are particularly well-drawn. He hints that Lem was gay but never discusses it too openly (as, indeed, was the case for Lem in real life). His characters often speak in elegant riddles, and the narrative drama rides largely on what goes unexpressed: namely, Lem\'s deep love for Jackie and the complicated affection they both harbor for Jack. Bayard\'s novel provides a fresh take on an enigmatic icon and shines the spotlight on a man who built his life around being the loyal friend.
RaveShelf AwarenessCuban American novelist Chanel Cleeton returns to her lush, compelling saga of the Cuban American Perez sisters in her fifth historical novel...In 1964, eldest sister Isabel takes an impulsive trip to Spain in search of her sister Beatriz...Worried Beatriz\'s intelligence work and devil-may-care attitude may have put her in danger, Isabel nevertheless jumps at the chance to escape her unhappy marriage for a time...Cleeton deftly weaves Isabel\'s narrative together with that of her mother, Alicia Perez, who fled to Barcelona to escape her own troubled marriage in 1936, with toddler Isabel in tow...Cleeton vividly describes Barcelona through the eyes of her protagonists; the city, and its mixture of art and tragedy, is the perfect backdrop for Alicia\'s struggle and Isabel\'s soul-searching
PositiveShelf AwarenessNagendra\'s engaging first mystery in a projected series, The Bangalore Detectives Club, introduces a whip-smart, charming sleuth and provides a glimpse into intercultural relations in 1920s India ... Nagendra portrays a vivid Bangalore through Kaveri\'s eyes. Quick and perceptive, she is a shrewd observer of the people she meets and the different social classes she encounters ... The danger ramps up as Kaveri gets closer to solving the murder, but the narrative wraps up satisfyingly without excessive gore. Both Nagendra\'s amateur sleuth and her new series are insightful and promising.
Marissa R. Moss
PositiveShelf AwarenessMoss unapologetically exposes the genre\'s baked-in sexism and racism, and highlights the courage and creativity of female singers, songwriters, producers and executives. She argues brilliantly for more diversity on country radio, more women in every part of the industry and more creative control for female artists. Her interview subjects share the grit required to make it in an industry that often shuts them out, and Moss herself celebrates their blatant refusal to \'shut up and sing\' ... richly layered history of the last two decades in country music and a clarion call for the genre--and its stakeholders--to do better.
RaveShelf AwarenessWarm, wry ... Huneven creates a diverse and appealing ensemble cast at once very particular to its context...and universally recognizable ... Hilarity sometimes ensues when members\' priorities and personalities clash, but rather than playing her characters for laughs, Huneven treats them with respect while still winking occasionally at readers ... The novel\'s true pleasure isn\'t in the outcome of the decision or its aftermath. It\'s in the sharp, insightful yet compassionate way Huneven handles her characters—all of them flawed, yet wanting, on some level, to do the right thing. Huneven\'s food descriptions are a delight and she includes delicious recipes at the end, but the narrative is the pièce de résistance: a multilayered account of an oddball community that somehow manages to be both spicy and comforting.
PositiveShelf Awareness... warm, wry ... Huneven creates an appealing ensemble cast at once very particular to its context ... Hilarity sometimes ensues when members\' priorities and personalities clash, but rather than playing her characters for laughs, Huneven treats them with respect while still winking occasionally at readers ... Huneven keeps readers (and Dana) guessing until near the end, but the novel\'s true pleasure isn\'t in the outcome of the decision or its aftermath. It\'s in the sharp, insightful yet compassionate way Huneven handles her characters--all of them flawed, yet wanting, on some level, to do the right thing ... Although Huneven\'s food descriptions and the recipes at the end are a delight, the narrative is the pièce de résistance: a multilayered account of an oddball community that somehow manages to be both spicy and comforting.
PositiveShelf Awareness... sweet and engaging ... manages to be both a pandemic love story and a thoughtful look at the ups and downs of a long marriage ... Though Wilde\'s narrative tone is light, she deftly captures the odd panic of early pandemic days: the hours of silence, the constant worry about virus transmission and the desire for even a bit of in-person company. She also paints a nuanced picture of two people who have always deeply loved each other but who have lost the former joy they took in each other\'s presence. Wilde captures the mixture of grief, longing, nostalgia and attempts to move forward through small moments.
PositiveShelf AwarenessA whirlwind journey ... Dolan creates compelling, likable characters ... The narrative\'s breezy style mirrors the breathless pace of Joan and Nate\'s journeys around Paris ... Dolan writes sensitively about the challenges of having (and losing) famous parents and re-examining past events in light of new information. With wit, insight and compassion, Dolan\'s novel deftly combines a high-stakes art chase with an exploration of loss and the hope of multiple fresh starts for her main character.
PositiveShelf AwarenessMufleh recounts her own challenges as a refugee, which involved coming out to her family and navigating life in the U.S. on her own. But she focuses mainly on her students, painting vivid portraits of their gifts, quirks and the steep obstacles their families faced ... Powerful and thought-provoking, Learning America is an inspiring story of creativity and resilience, and a clarion call to rethink education for young refugees and immigrants.
RaveShelf AwarenessDebut novelist Melissa Fu draws on her family\'s history to create a captivating story of immigration, family secrets and deep love ... Fu writes sensitively about the concerns of multiple generations of immigrant families: the daily needs of survival during traumatic times, the fierce determination to protect one\'s children and give them better opportunities, the difficulties of sharing a family history that includes so much pain ... Fu\'s thoughtful third-person narration gives readers a sense of all three characters\' perspectives, as well as a slice of modern Chinese history. Richly described, with deeply compassionate protagonists, Peach Blossom Spring is a haunting tribute to immigrant families and a gorgeous meditation on how stories can shape identity.
RaveShelf Awareness... twisty ... this fast-paced combination of thriller, Cold War history and sharp commentary on making one\'s way in the world as a woman stands on its own ... Pitoniak expertly evokes the tense atmosphere of Cold War-era Europe ... With sharp observations on everything from D.C. insider politics to the mundane details of family life, Our American Friend is both an engaging feminist thriller and a meditation on the ways history often surprises even the people who make it.
PositiveShelf Awareness... sharply observed ... Even readers who have never suffered a serious physical injury will recognize that disconnect: the sense that the body and spirit are not always in sync. Ruhl captures this disconnect with honesty, grace and frequent flashes of wry humor, without always needing to wrap everything up into a tidy insight. Smile is at once an illness narrative, a meditation on smiling as cultural practice and symbol, and a compelling, behind-the-scenes look at the life of a playwright and mother.
RaveShelf Awareness... moving ... Hauck writes with deep compassion, not only for the boys but for her grieving, idealistic younger self ... She captures the humor and pathos of interactions with young men already wary of well-meaning adults, and shares glimpses of the ordinary conversations that took place around the table. Home Made is not a prescription for sweeping social change or a story of a white woman saving young men of color (or even herself). Rather, it is a tender, insightful, often funny account of what happens when people show up—and keep showing up—to cook and eat together
RaveShelf Awareness... reads as both history and memoir: a stunning exploration of atrocities committed against Black people, and a thoughtful, clear-eyed account of one Black man trying to reckon with these places in the past and present ... Each place, no matter its current approach, is vital to a holistic understanding of slavery in the U.S. Smith\'s work is a passionate, thought-provoking, brilliantly observed call for Americans to take a new, uncomfortable but essential look at their own history.
Laura Imai Messina, Tr. by Lucy Rand
RaveShelf Awareness... moving ... Thoughtful and tender, full of small daily moments and acts of kindness, Messina\'s novel is a testament to the power of community (and a bit of whimsy) in moving forward after loss ... Messina\'s portrayal of the storm and its aftermath is matter of fact and unstinting; she lays out the broad outlines of the tragedy without trying to explain or make sense of it ... Messina intersperses her spare, lyrical narrative with tiny chapters formed mostly of lists...These lists of quotidian details offer flashes of normalcy (and sometimes humor) amid the larger narrative of life-altering grief with which the characters are grappling ... Though Messina\'s narrative is mainly focused on Yui and Takeshi, she draws thoughtful, nuanced portraits of several secondary characters ... The wind phone is perhaps an unusual response to grief, but both in the novel and in real life, it provides a place for grieving people to have necessary conversations, to acknowledge their sadness and other complicated emotions, and--perhaps--to let their grief lift and float out over the sea.
PositiveShelf AwarenessThoughtful, well-researched and utterly engaging, Come Fly the World is smart escapist journalism and a tribute to hundreds of women who were much more than just a crew of pretty faces.
RaveShelf AwarenessIn her gripping fourth novel, The Arctic Fury, Greer Macallister (Woman 99; Girl in Disguise) weaves together two timelines and multiple narrative strands ... Macallister examines sexism and racism in the pre-Civil War United States, and builds a compelling mosaic of a story. She also deftly uses [...] multiple viewpoints to call into question the notion of truth ... The Arctic Fury is not for the faint of heart: at times Macallister thrusts her characters almost aggressively into hardship, peril and gruesome situations. It is not a clear-cut narrative of adventure, love or justice, although it contains the seeds of all those things. But it is certainly compelling. Readers who love historical fiction, strong women and unusual settings will find all three--as well as a couple of truly inventive twists--in Macallister\'s novel.
RaveShelf AwarenessBell takes his widest angle yet on the nature of life, mixing those questions with humor, humility, family history and—surprisingly—a hefty dose of quantum physics. It\'s an odd combination, but (as the title suggests) it\'s all connected, and it all speaks to living as a human being on this vexing, beautiful planet ... Bell\'s story, in both form and content, is not remotely linear. Like the swirling galaxies that have earned his abiding curiosity, the narrative twists back on itself, returning again and again to those enduring questions. Bell is less interested in answers than he is in diving into the complicated layers of life and love, and learning to embrace every bit of his own story ... The Bell who appears in these pages is thoughtful, fun-loving, whimsical and kind. Most of all, he is held in thrall by a deep curiosity and wonder: about the universe, the world, the human heart, and every single story that might possibly shed the tiniest bit of light on any of the above.
PositiveShelf AwarenessSmarsh probes (though not too deeply) into the problematic aspects of a few shows at Dollywood, and tries to unravel the connection between Parton\'s business smarts, her acceptance (and proud display) of her own sexuality and the feminism she has been reluctant to (publicly) embrace. The emphasis is heavy on Parton\'s status as an example and icon to thousands of women ... Along the way, Smarsh examines the criticism--both class- and gender-based--that Parton has received over her half-century in music. While it includes sharp social commentary and well-placed personal anecdotes, She Come by It Natural is at its heart a love letter both to Parton and to the women who continue to see themselves in her songs.
PositiveShelf AwarenessAs Mlodinow tells the story of their collaboration, he summarizes the scientific ideas they worked on (as well as much of Hawking\'s other research) in a clear, accessible way, while painting a nuanced portrait of Hawking himself. Readers who are interested in popular science, cosmology or Hawking\'s work will find much to ponder here, but Mlodinow\'s book is also a thoughtful, tender yet unsentimental story of an extraordinary friendship.
RaveShelf AwarenessLevesque charts a course through the rapidly evolving field of astronomy. With humor and heart, she explains the basics of what astronomers do while relating dozens of entertaining anecdotes about her chosen field. She also makes a strong case for why humans should continue to study the skies ... Warm, engaging and packed with highly accessible science, The Last Stargazers is thoroughly entertaining and an impetus for readers to take up a little stargazing of their own.
PositiveShelf AwarenessNell\'s story contains hidden depths and rich layers of love, loss and wisdom ... full of memorable characters ... Sullivan\'s canvas may be small, but her message is universal: books—including this one—have the power to amuse, console and transform lives.
RaveShelf AwarenessWhile Nancy cuts a vivid, stylish figure through the novel\'s pages, her supporting cast is also well drawn ... Their feats of daring and gritty survival tactics are drawn largely from true accounts by Nancy and others, but Lawhon\'s elegant plotting makes them shine ... Bold, confident, dryly witty and driven by a strong sense of justice, Nancy (no matter which name she uses) is a fascinating character. Lawhon\'s gripping narrative gives \'Hélène\' her due.
PositiveShelf AwarenessÁlvarez writes movingly of his mother\'s endless shifts at the apple-packing plant and his father\'s backbreaking labor in fruit picking and construction ... Álvarez witnesses moments of transcendence--ceremonial prayers, outpourings of grief, bursts of joy--but his narrative sometimes gets bogged down in the dramas of irritable runners and leaders engaged in power struggles. The drama is at least engaging: his fellow runners, including a Canadian indigenous woman named Zyanya Lonewolf, emerge as distinct personalities ... a complex, thought-provoking journey shot through with flashes of glory and hope.
RaveShelf AwarenessStratford has created a cast of strong women ... Stratford has a keen eye for everyday historical details, including black Bakelite phones (often tapped by the FBI) and the different brands of cigarettes smoked on both sides of the Atlantic. She also explores the most insidious effect of the blacklist: the constant fear and mistrust, which affects not only those pursued by HUAC, but also their colleagues, families and friends ... Well plotted and moving, with witty characters and an unnervingly timely storyline, Red Letter Days is smart, satisfying historical fiction at its best.
PositiveShelf Awareness... fast-paced ... Murphy draws his characters with warmth and compassion, emphasizing their deep love for family ... The geopolitical dramas of the early 2000s and the actions in the Middle East by American leaders make the book even more relevant to present-day realities. But the novel\'s true strength is its cast of vivid, flawed, deeply human characters, who struggle and make mistakes, and do their best to work for good in uncertain, even dangerous, times.
Isabel Allende, Trans. by Nick Caistor and Amanda Hopkinson
PositiveShelf AwarenessAllende\'s narrative...delves into the swirl of grief, love, pride, guilt and longing. Like their love for Chile, Victor and Roser\'s relationship is neither conventional nor tidy, but their bond grows deep and strong over many years, and Allende brings them through joys and challenges with grit, grace and stubborn hope. A Long Petal of the Sea is sprawling, sometimes difficult but ultimately satisfying.
PositiveShelf AwarenessIn thoughtful, incisive chapters, Calhoun shares interviews with dozens of women who feel overwhelmed, exhausted or downright terrified. Many of them love their lives--partners, children, careers, friends--while simultaneously worrying they\'ve missed the mark in some vital area, like finances or health. Calhoun steers clear of quick fixes in favor of a candid acknowledgment of the multilayered issues at hand, which is (fittingly) what many Gen X women are longing for: to be heard and seen. She doesn\'t offer easy solutions, but she does argue for greater self-acceptance, for savoring everyday joys and (when possible) letting oneself off the hook ... For Gen X women and the people who love them, Calhoun\'s book is a great place to start.
Naomi Shihab Nye
RaveShelf AwarenessOn every page, Shihab Nye\'s insistent call is the same: people, all people, deserve to live safe and healthy lives, free from fear and violence. She mourns, rages, takes politicians to task, but always lands on the side of compassion ... Her poems are a clarion call to readers to see the violence in Palestine and elsewhere, and to do what they can to work for peace.
RaveShelf AwarenessPhelps-Roper paints a nuanced portrait of Westboro as a group of human beings capable of both spreading hate-filled messages and living out their deep love for one another ... In a time of polarizing rhetoric, Phelps-Roper is a gentle, powerful voice speaking for compassion and thoughtful conversation. She explores the contradictions in Westboro\'s thinking, and is candid about her own ability (and later her increasing struggle) to gloss over the cognitive dissonance required to remain \'faithful.\' By leaving Westboro and wrestling through several dark, lonely seasons, Phelps-Roper has found her way to a different understanding of the world: one filled with humility and hope instead of hatred. Unfollow is a fascinating insider\'s account of life at Westboro and an urgent, timely call for dialogue and understanding.
Aarti Namdev Shahani
RaveShelf AwarenessShahani\'s insightful first book paints a layered and engaging picture of her family and their joys and struggles ... asks compelling questions about what it means to belong in this country ... [Shahani\'s] family emerges in vivid, textured detail ... Shahani pulls no punches in detailing the government\'s treatment of immigrants accused or convicted of even minor crimes, particularly those with a green card as well as those with non-permanent immigration status. She details the hopelessness of legal battles, the violence endemic to Rikers and other prisons, and the mixture of emotions when her father was finally released ... the system, and many of its challenges, remain exactly the same, and the questions Aarti Shahani asks in her book are still entirely relevant ... The Shahanis\' story, like that of so many immigrants, is a mixture of tragedy and hope, and Aarti highlights both, along with her deep love for her father ... a searing exposé of the U.S. criminal justice system and its glaring flaws, and a love letter from an impetuous, outspoken daughter to her soft-spoken, hardworking father. It goes beyond the scripted immigrant narrative to highlight the Shahanis in their complicated humanity, and it makes an insistent case for readers to do the same. It is at once a statement from Aarti to her dad--we will keep fighting for you until the end--and a declaration by millions of immigrants: we are part of this country, and we are not going anywhere. Clear-eyed and compulsively readable, shot through with compassion, humor and heart, Here We Are is a quintessential immigrant story and an urgent call for change.
RaveShelf AwarenessBlistering in its unequivocal critiques of the legal systems that keep refugees in limbo, yet strikingly layered and nuanced in its storytelling, The Ungrateful Refugee is timely, unsettling, compassionate and deeply compelling.
PositiveShelf AwarenessRosenbloom dives into her journeys with joy and curiosity: well-known tourist haunts and obscure side streets are equally fair game ... Alone Time is both a paean to its title and an invitation to anyone who has ever longed to explore a new city á seul.
RaveShelf Awareness... introduces the burgeoning subfield to the uninformed (but curious) and explores how it is transforming the work of people like Parcak and her colleagues ... Parcak\'s love for her field and her deep wonder and excitement come through on every page ... Clear, accessible and fascinating, peppered with witty asides and informative photos, Archaeology from Space is an excellent introduction to an exciting subfield that\'s still flying under the (satellite) radar.
RaveShelf Awareness... a powerful, heartbreaking story of star-crossed lovers and Iran\'s political upheavals ... Tehran\'s contradictions come to life in Kamali\'s narrative ... Kamali draws her characters with compassion and dignity: they are at once buffeted by outside events and doing their best to act with grace and wisdom. Mr. Fakhri\'s stationery shop and its owner are a tribute to the importance of ideas and poetry, and Roya\'s eventual encounter with Bahman is a powerful study in seeking truth and forgiveness. The Stationery Shop is at once a layered historical saga of a country struggling toward democracy and an intimate meditation on \'a love from which we never recover.\"\'
PositiveShelf Awareness... fast-paced, meticulously researched ... Purnell expertly weaves Hall\'s narrative together with the story of SOE\'s founding, highlighting its attempts to build a new kind of covert operation (and its mistakes along the way) ... The woman\'s bravery and brilliance are on constant display, but Purnell also highlights the quiet heroism of ordinary people who risked their lives daily to fight fascism. She also minces no words about the sexism Hall and other women faced at the State Department and in SOE--both agencies having started as well-heeled boys\' clubs ... Although some of Hall\'s exploits are epic, even cinematic, there\'s also a lot of nitty-gritty detail: cracking radio codes, planning elaborate prison escapes, agents narrowly avoiding capture (or not). Purnell\'s narrative moves along at a cracking pace, somehow managing to keep track of a large cast of characters against the ever-changing backdrop of war ... Purnell\'s book is a gripping account of an extraordinary woman, and a celebration of courage, ingenuity and grit.
PositiveShelf AwarenessButtigieg\'s warm, thoughtful narrative voice reflects his approach to local politics: seeing people as individuals who are also part of their community and figuring out how to make their lives better. During a turbulent moment in national politics, it\'s refreshing to read an account of hope, compassion and plain hard work at the local level. Buttigieg\'s story is particular to South Bend, but it offers insights for those working to lead cities around the country. His personal journey—as a local boy returning home, a Navy Reserve officer juggling his day job and commitment to his country, and a gay man coming out and finding love while in the public eye—is equally compelling.
PositiveShelf Awareness\"Horowitz draws on well-established facets of Bond\'s image: his gambling, his fondness for women and alcohol, his ability to keep a cool head under pressure ... The narrative slows down at times to provide exposition, though the last several chapters—involving an American tycoon, a sumptuous yacht and a Corsican mobster who speaks only via his translator—barrel along at a breakneck pace. Longtime Bond fans or those who simply enjoy a good thriller will find much to enjoy here, including a martini or two (shaken, not stirred).\
RaveShelf AwarenessMany avid readers have a \'book bucket list\': that hefty classic they\'ve always meant to tackle, that series they\'ll get around to someday, that book their mother or husband or best friend loves that they\'ve just never managed to try. But 1,000 books to read before you die Sounds intimidating, to say the least. Fear not. James Mustich, a longtime bookseller, voracious reader...has taken has taken on the task: he\'s compiled a...surprisingly accessible list of 1,000 Books to Read Before You Die ... the best way to use this book is, in fact, to wander: flip through a section or two, go back and forth looking for something you thought you saw. Read the endnotes, skip a few entries or whole sections, only to find them again later. In short, \'Read at whim!\' ... Thoughtful, often witty, informed and unfailingly enthusiastic, Mustich\'s collection fulfills one more aim of every bookstore worth its salt: inspiring readers to dive headfirst into a good book--especially one (or 12 or 50) they didn\'t know they were dying to read.
RaveShelf AwarenessIn Lands of Lost Borders, her luminous, incisive memoir ... covers thousands of miles and hundreds of years: she draws in Marco Polo, Charles Darwin, NASA and many other explorers past and present ... Her capacious intellect takes in poetry, politics, environmental writing and the strange rhythms of English spoken by her new friends. She doesn\'t spare the gritty details of the trip: stern checkpoint guards, exhausting traffic, much sweat and countless flat tires. But she is also awed repeatedly by the world as seen from a bicycle ... Harris\'s journey includes both in spades--but the letdowns are far outweighed by wonder and joy. Lyrical, brilliant and sharply observed, Lands of Lost Borders is a paean to wanderlust and a call for readers to launch their own explorations.
Katherine J Chen
PositiveShelf AwarenessThough timid and resigned at first, Mary\'s narrative voice grows acerbic, even caustic: she does not suffer fools and spares her family members no indignity. Readers of Pride and Prejudice already know of Mrs. Bennet\'s flightiness and Lydia\'s lack of self-control, but Mr. Bennet, Charlotte Lucas and Lizzy—especially Lizzy—do not come off well in this retelling. Only Jane, kind to the last, retains her sweetness and beauty. Austen purists may be scandalized at Chen\'s reimagining of these familiar characters and her handling of the Darcys\' relationship, but the book\'s plot twists are thought-provoking.
PositiveShelf AwarenessUmrigar draws her characters with a keen and compassionate hand--not only her protagonists but her supporting characters as well ... Packed with sensory details and tart dialogue, Umrigar\'s novel deftly evokes the complicated realities of poverty, love, hard work, guilt, grief and friendship in modern-day Mumbai.
Ursula K. Le Guin
RaveShelf Awareness\"No Time to Spare presents the best of Le Guin\'s blog: sharp-eyed, big-hearted, idiosyncratic and highly enjoyable. Both Le Guin\'s eye for detail and her dry wit are on full display here ... There is much to think about in this wise and eloquent collection.\