RaveBooklistHanif’s superb novel, with its elements of magic realism, is told from multiple points of view, principally those of Momo, Ellie, and—in a whimsical touch—Momo’s dog ... Hanif has written a splendidly satirical novel that beautifully captures the absurdity and folly of war and its ineluctable impact on its survivors. At turns funny and heartbreaking, it is a memorable contribution to the literature of conflict.
Brian Jay Jones
PositiveBooklist[A] massive, loving biography ... Don’t expect a lot of critical analysis, though. Jones is more interested in straight reportage ... this biography stands as a straightforward record of Geisel’s life and career.
Dustin Lance Black
RaveBooklist...a consummate storyteller, as he demonstrates in this beautifully written, vastly entertaining, and moving memoir ... Black seems incapable of writing a dull word as he evokes his stirring life and times, ultimately inspiring comity by word and example. His book belongs in every library.
New York Public Library
PositiveBooklist[A] generous and eclectic assortment of writings about the historic event ... This significant book does welcome justice to an event that author Edmund White, who wrote the foreword, says sparked \'an oceanic change in thinking.\'
RaveBooklist...[a] marvelous bildungsroman ... There is much more to come in this marvelously plot-rich novel, which—told in Eli’s first-person voice—is filled with beautifully lyric prose ... exceptional.
RaveBooklist\"A beautifully written, even aphoristic novel, but its greatest strength is its characterization: Semi and his gay friends, Cel and her mother and grandfather, and, of course, the always enigmatic Mattie are brilliantly conceived and, like the novel in which they star, utterly unforgettable.\
RaveBooklistHappily, his new book brings many of those pieces together in a fascinating portrait of gay life in Brooklyn ... A number of celebrated creative types figure prominently, and Ryan gives generous attention to the likes of poets Hart Crane, W. H. Auden, and Marianne Moore ... Bringing them alive again is one of the valuable services Ryan’s fine work contributes to queer history.
RaveBooklistTobia is a gifted storyteller ... Always thoughtful, Tobia writes extremely well, with insight, lucidity, occasional anger, and, when things get too serious, wit. The result is, hands down, one of the best trans narratives available; it deserves a place in every library.
Alessandro D'Avenia, trans. by Jeremy Parzen
PositiveBooklistWhat Hell Is Not is an examination of the admixture of heaven and hell, of love and hate. Rich in figurative language, which is sometimes heavy-handed, the story is, nevertheless, equally rich in characterization and setting.
PositiveBooklistTheir stories, based largely on secondary sources in McCarten’s telling, are dramatic and, accordingly, are used in the screenplay (of the same name) the author has written for a motion picture that will debut on Netflix in 2019.
PositiveBooklist...[an] insightful memoir, which is as much about [Dube\'s] work as his personal life, though he writes movingly about his search for love and an enduring relationship, the latter often proving elusive. Readers will find his autobiography memorable and especially valuable as a contribution to the body of AIDS literature.
MixedBooklistThe critically acclaimed Mexican American author writes stylishly but without drama. A description of Luisa’s mood comes dangerously close to describing the book itself, though it does succeed in painting a portrait of Mexico at the time. Fans of character-driven fiction will find enough to like here, in spite of the relatively immobile story.
PositiveBooklist[An] extremely valuable book about family, gender, race, and identity. Patterson has broken the silence, and readers will thank her for it.
PositiveBooklistDennison’s account of all this is sympathetic but honest, psychologically acute and insightful. It is, withal, a sad story but one that Dennison tells extremely well to his and Grahame’s credit.
D. W. Pasulka
PositiveBooklistThought-provoking ... a sober, generally accessible account of research into what she calls \'a new religion, the religion of the UFO event\' ... a hybrid of the lively and the abstruse that will leave many readers enlightened and puzzled in turn.
PositiveBooklistA bit anticlimactic, though the story is neatly plotted and nicely atmospheric. And, yes, there is the obligatory, teasing red herring, but the solution to this British import is plausible and eminently satisfying. Encore, please.
PositiveBooklist\"Throughout, Allen pursues her own version of the American Dream, finding part of it in home ownership, a career in media, and attaining visibility. Much of her book is, frankly, depressing as she vividly demonstrates the often heartbreaking challenges of being black in contemporary America. Attention must be paid, though, and Allen has done an excellent job of insuring that will happen.\
PositiveBooklist\"... splendid ... Though their subjects vary, the pieces have in common their excellence ... It is children, as well as literature, who capture and hold [Babbitt\'s] attention. She is a stalwart defender of both. As for her work, it speaks, or barks, for itself.\
RaveBooklistUnsparingly honest ... [A] brilliant book, which stimulates intellectual curiosity and thought while giving equal weight to Pagel’s emotional life. It is a felicitous mixture that will excite both those familiar with her work and those for whom this volume will be an intriguing introduction.
RaveBooklistTeenage Nicky tells this sad story in his own, often eloquent, first-person voice. Even as his father’s life is devolving, Nicky’s is evolving as he comes of age in this sometimes funny but always melancholy novel. With a vividly realized setting—Brooklyn in the 1970s—the story is sharply written, inviting deep empathy from readers, who will find universal truths in this compelling tale of a single family.
RaveBooklistExtraordinary ... Zusak pushes the parameters of YA in this gorgeously written novel ... an unforgettably lovely book.
PositiveBooklistAlways erudite and convincing, Gray is sometimes given to interesting categorical statements ... He is inarguably a reliable guide through a thicket of famous names associated with atheism—Lenin, Marx, Conrad, and Hitler, among them—and he offers solid introductions to the work of lesser-known figures, including Jan Bockelson and Isaac La Peyrère. In addressing his subjects, Gray takes deep dives into history, examining the evolution of ideas in a generally accessible way. A valuable examination of one of the many fascinating junctures where religion and philosophy meet.
PositiveBooklist...an impressionistic examination of a family of mixed race and ethnicity ... an uncharacteristically operatic, almost melodramatic ending that seems to violate the book’s tone. But be that as it may, Torres is clearly a gifted writer with a special talent for tone and characterization. His novel is a pleasure to read.
RaveBooklist\"The story is memorable not only in its voice but also in its evocation of the horrors of slavery; and it is brilliant, too, in its construction of character. Wash and Titch are so alive as to be unforgettable, as is the story of their tangled relationship. This important novel from the author of the superb Half-Blood Blues (2012) belongs in every library.\
RaveBooklist OnlineMcGregor demonstrates an extraordinary ability to create complex, multidimensional characters in only a few spare sentences. He is also a master of mood, investing his stories with an air of the ominous while proving also to be a superb stylist (bees buzz \'fatly\' in foxgloves; \'a baggy flock of crows\' lift from trees). Irresistibly readable, the book is, in sum, a memorable celebration of literary fiction.
PositiveBooklist OnlineHarvey Milk was a complex man,\' Faderman asserts in this exemplary biography, a volume in Yale University Press’ Jewish Lives series. As she points out, Milk tried many \'lives\'—she lists a dozen, ranging from teacher to Wall Street securities analyst, from actor to hippie—before he finally found his calling as a politician ... Faderman pulls no punches in her examination of Milk’s often disastrous private life but puts it in the context of the martyred Milk’s undeniable contribution to the evolution of gay liberation. Concise and beautifully written, Harvey Milk is an invaluable addition to LGBTQ literature.
PositiveBooklistHunt’s fevered, reality-bending first novel is clearly inspired by the 1811 German novel Undine, about a female water spirit who falls in love with a mortal knight ... will she kill her knight with a kiss? Some readers, overburdened by obscure symbols and narrative ambiguity, won’t care. Others, however, will enjoy this fusion of fiction and folklore that is illuminated by flashes of quite fine writing.
RaveBooklist OnlineElias, now the Soul Catcher and urgently needing to heighten his powers, is up to his eyebrows in despairing ghosts and angry jinn. Laia, who loves him, is desperate to foil the world-destroying machinations of the Nightbringer while also saving her people, the Scholars, from destruction ... Meanwhile, wars (and rumors of wars) threaten to bring the empire to its knees ... Tahir has created another compelling story that defies readers to stop turning the pages.
RaveBooklistThe tone of this often melancholy story is elegiac ... The characters are well drawn, and the setting is beautifully realized. The result is a haunting story that will linger in readers’ memories.
PositiveBooklist\"True to its time, there are occasional mini-race riots at school, but they seldom touch him—until they do, with dire consequences. This affectionate, nostalgic novel about a sometimes-troubled teen is a crossover delight with appeal to both adults and teens.\
RaveBooklistBailey is unsparing in her well-written memoir of her struggles with OCD, giving readers an intimate experience of living with the disorder. Her account focuses much-needed light on a condition that demands to be better understood
RaveBooklist Online\"Her story is divided between the early nineties and the near present. The true-crime part of her book is significantly more interesting than her report of her own unexceptional life as a well-to-do teen. As a result, this one is strictly for true-crime fans.\
PositiveBooklist...the people who populate the stories are worth knowing ... Aside from mood and tone, many of the stories share a commonality in the presence of gay characters and fine, evocative writing ... Ultimately, White’s world is harsh but informed by kinds of love that will touch readers’ hearts.
PositiveBooklist\"...a tangled, atmospheric story that gradually builds suspense to a satisfyingly surprising denouement. Spy-fiction fans will want to take note.\
RaveBooklistPart history, part sociology, part group portrait, Stein’s book is an accessible, thoroughly researched, and well-written examination of a circumstance still noted for its complexities, inviting searching discussions of the meanings of gender and masculinity. Happily, Unbound will bring much needed clarity to such discussions.
Robert W. Fieseler
PositiveBooklist\"Largely forgotten for many years, this tragedy has now been brought to vivid life by Fieseler, who has done a remarkable job of research in telling the story of an event that would help give rise to the LGBTQ rights movement in New Orleans ... Attention must be paid, and Fieseler has done a laudable job of insuring that it will be. His inspiring account is an important contribution to LGBTQ literature.\
Darnell L. Moore
RaveBooklistThis coming-of-age memoir cum meditation is the introspective story of a man in search of self ... dreams die, Moore says, if they are consigned to the imagination only. They are seeds that must be planted for survival. And Moore is a survivor, gradually coming to terms with his homosexuality and finally finding himself in selfless service to others. His story is an inspiration.
PositiveBooklistHis thoughtful book is replete with quotations from people of faith whose work he admires, people like Reinhold Niebuhr, Søren Kierkegaard, Karl Barth, and others. The insights, however, are all his own. For Carter, the word faith is not only a noun but also a verb, for while he believes that people are saved by grace through faith, and not by works, he nevertheless applauds action inspired by faith.
RaveBooklist\"Part autobiography, part advocacy, it succeeds beautifully on both counts ... the book makes a passionate case for universal rights for the LGBTQ community, particularly for those who are its transgender members. But hers is also a highly personal love story of her growing relationship with Andy, another advocate, who was a trans man ... Highly readable and beautifully written, hers is an inarguably important book that deserves the widest possible readership.\
RaveBooklist\"Clement is a brilliant stylist; her figurative language is far more than fine; her metaphors and similes are superb; and together they create a haunting atmosphere—sometimes fey, occasionally whimsical, no stranger to tragedy but always heartfelt and spot-on, as are her beautifully realized, captivating characters. Though sui generis, her work may remind some readers of Flannery O’Connor’s. Always evocative, it is an unforgettable knockout not to be missed.\
RaveBooklistFinally, fleeing the quotidian awfulness of their respective lives, mother and son travel to Los Angeles, where instead of healing, they find only the Apocalypse. If all this sounds melodramatic, in Nathan’s skillful, beautifully written telling, it isn’t. He selects his incidents artfully and—in part by shifting the point of view between [protagonist] Colin and his mother—does a masterful job of creating believable, multidimensional characters about whom the reader cares desperately. And if their ending is heartbreaking, it is artistically inevitable. Nathan’s first novel is beautifully done and promises to linger in the reader’s memory.
RaveBooklist OnlineCassara has done a superb job of reimagining a world that will be foreign and even exotic to many readers, while creating fully developed characters to populate it.
RaveBooklistTheir brilliantly realized milieu is the world of art and literature and, for Evert and Johnny, who are gay, the evolving world of gay society and culture in Britain. Superlatives are made to describe this extraordinary work of fiction; characterization, style, mood, tone, setting—all are equally distinguished. Hollinghurst is especially good at evoking yearning, and, indeed, his novel will inarguably leave his readers yearning for more.
RaveBooklist\"Haig’s plot is obviously complex, but—a marvel of invention—it is seamlessly presented, telling an absolutely compelling story. It examines large issues—history, time, purpose, and more—but in an engagingly thought-provoking, compulsively readable way. It is, in every way, a triumph not to be missed.\
RaveBooklistRichly documented (it contains 85 pages of notes), it is the compelling, beautifully written story of a life whose childhood and early years of marriage were beset by incredible economic privation and disaster: poverty, hunger, fire, blizzards, invasions of locusts, and more, enough to seemingly eclipse the biblical plagues of Egypt ... One of the more interesting aspects of this wonderfully insightful book is its delineation of the fraught relationship between Wilder and her deeply disturbed, often suicidal daughter. But it is its marriage of biography and history—the latter providing such a rich context for the life—that is one of the great strengths of this indispensable book, an unforgettable American story.
RaveBooklist...superb ... Green, a master of deeply felt material, handles all of this with aplomb. With its attention to ideas and trademark introspection, it’s a challenging but richly rewarding read. It is also the most mature of Green’s work to date and deserving of all the accolades that are sure to come its way.
RaveBooklistBoyne, who has a wonderful gift for characterization, does a splendid job of weaving these various lives together in ways that are richly dramatic, sometimes surprising, and always compelling. A vividly realized theme in the novel is the inhumane treatment of homosexuals in Ireland, largely at the behest of the Roman Catholic Church. Accordingly, the fear of being outed will cause Cyril to make some life-changing mistakes that, in context, are altogether plausible. Often quite funny, the story nevertheless has its sadness, sometimes approaching tragedy. Utterly captivating and not to be missed.
RaveBooklist...[a] lovely, gorgeously written memoir ... It’s Taylor’s gift to readers to make that past hauntingly real for them, too, without the taint of nostalgia, which, he wisely argues, 'lies.' The truth is that this memoir is an unforgettable sharing of one boy’s life that contains universal truths in a style that demands to be quoted. 'Memory is aesthetic,' he claims, and this book is proof of it.
RaveBooklist...[a] splendid book ... Fascinating and compellingly readable as all of this is, there remains something ineffable about Sendak’s work, for, yes, when all is said and done, there is a mystery there, one that Cott conveys beautifully.
MixedBooklistThough obviously skillfully written—it’s a winner of the PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction—the book can sometimes be difficult to read, thanks to its bleak subject matter, which, nevertheless, is reflective of today’s reality. Those who are interested in closely observed, character-driven fiction will want to leave room for The Leavers on their shelves.
Hannah Lillith Assadi
PositiveBooklistAssadi’s first novel is—like Ahlam’s dreams—fevered, fragmented, and impressionistic. Its language is lushly poetic—leaves make 'a shivery melody'—but occasionally strained. Though the novel takes itself very seriously, it will interest those looking for a stylish read.
Rowan Hisayo Buchanan
MixedBooklistWith an unsympathetic protagonist whose actions seem oddly arbitrary, and a mood that ranges from melancholy to dreary, this is a hard book to like, but one can nevertheless admire its artful style and verisimilitude.