Book Reviews Archive

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The Talking Drum

Posted on 21 July 2020 (0)

Lisa Braxton’s debut novel, The Talking Drum (INNANA, a Canadian feminist press, 2020), is remarkably timely. Set in fictional “Bellport, Massachusetts,” in the 1970s, it dovetails with Boston’s Black residents’ current struggle to keep Boston’s Nubian Square alive and flourishing, as well as the gentrification of the South End long ago, and Boston’s now very […]

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Bruce Hartford’s “Troublemaker” Memories of the Freedom Movement

Posted on 02 September 2019 (0)

I couldn’t put it down: Hartford’s memoir is largely about his four years as a white CORE “foot soldier” in the Black Freedom movement in Alabama and Mississippi. He describes beatings and death threats but makes clear the far greater and life-long risks facing Black people who protested. marched, tried to register to vote, or […]

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My Review of Books I read on our Aug 2015 Reading Weekend, Great Barrington, MA

Posted on 08 September 2015 (0)

Novel The Meursault Investigation, by Algerian journalist Kamel Daoud (The Other Press, 2015; first published in 2014 in France). Stunningly told in the 2nd person, from the perspective of Musa, the brother of “the Arab” killed by Meursault in Camus’ novel L’Etranger. Musa  talks to whoever will listen in a bar, Ancient Mariner-like. He is […]

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Lillian’s Last Affair – book review

Posted on 25 May 2014 (0)

The characters in Sue Katz’ Lillian’s Last Affair and Other Stories, may be 65+ in age, but after reading these six stories (, you’ll never again assume that you know what a “little old lady” is thinking or doing. These fictional characters face challenges anyone may encounter, from gold-digging lotharios to neighbors who block shared […]

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Writing Process Blog Tour

Posted on 24 May 2014 (0)

Earlier this month, on the National Writers Union book forum, I wrote that that all blog tours seemed to be expensive scams. I was mistaken: Sue Katz author of Lillian’s Last Affair, available on Amazon, responded that she was participating in a writer-organized Writing Process Blog Tour that is no scam; nor does it involve […]

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Misremembering Dr. King

Posted on 18 May 2014 (0)

Jennifer J. Yanco’s Misremembering Dr. King – Revisiting the Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. is out from Indiana University Press. Don’t be scared off by her academic publisher: Yanco writes in clear, non-jargon language how “we” (she includes herself) so easily forget Dr. King’s core beliefs. It’s easy for us, she says, to remember […]

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Read This Memoir on Understanding Whiteness

Posted on 28 February 2014 (55)

If you’ve been enlightened by Tim Wise’s White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son, or intrigued by my white privilege-related essays, do read Debby Irving’s memoir, Waking Up White and Finding Myself in the Story of Race, just out in 2014. The book’s cover is of a happy little girl at dinner, […]

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My Winter Reading Weekend Recommendations

Posted on 13 February 2012 (3)

When the Emperor Was Divine, by Julie Otsuka (Random, 2002). A slim, wondrous first novel with such straightforward, clean, yet vivid writing. A Berkeley CA immigrant family of Japanese heritage is sent to internment camps after Pearl Harbor is bombed: “the mother,” “the boy,” and “the girl” are sent to a Utah camp, but “the […]

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My Food For Thought: 12 Books I Recommend

Posted on 25 December 2011 (16)

The Call , by Yannick Murphy (Harper, 2011). The format of his novel – it’s written as a veterinarian’s daily log, intrigued me. I started reading but wondered how a logbook can possibly “work” as a novel. How can the author develop a plot? But she did, and her format elucidates the main character’s psychology. […]

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Books I Read Recently and Recommend

Posted on 28 November 2010 (2)

Here are the best fiction and non-fiction books I’ve read recently, most during one of our “reading weekends,” when Jon and I went away to read, this time in a sweet little B & B, Acorn’s Hope,Great Barrington (MA).    Try to Remember, by Iris Gomez (Grand Central Publishing/Hachette Book Group, 2010). This novel “grabbed” […]

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