You are here

Book Reviews

A Reunion of Ghosts

A Reunion of Ghosts by Judith Claire Mitchell is one of the best novels that I’ve read in years. A wry black comedy, it begins in 1999 and is the story of the 40-ish Alter sisters: Lady, Vee and Delph, who share an apartment on New York’s upper East Side. But it’s also the story of four generations of the Alter family, beginning with their great-grandfather, a brilliant German chemist who invented chlorine gas, among other terrible things. Tragedies have occurred in each generation, leaving the Alter sisters to conclude that there is only one solution that will break the curse.

Staff Pick Logo
A Reunion of Ghosts Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780062355898
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper Perennial - January 26th, 2016

A NATIONAL JEWISH BOOK AWARD FINALIST

"The Alter sisters are mordant, wry, and crystalline in wit and vision; it is a tremendous pleasure to rocket through generations of their family histories with them." --Lauren Groff, New York Timesbestselling author of Fates and Furies, The Monsters of Templeton, and Arcadia


Exposure

Helen Dunmore’s newest novel is a beautiful tribute to the sweet comfort of home, to the fierce focus of mother love, and to the random risks and dangers that we are all exposed to.  She writes about the year 1960 in London, the cold war is in full cry and Dunmore describes everyday life with telling details: muddy galoshes, gold cuff links, the smells of primary school children and the sound of a train coming down the track.

Staff Pick Logo
Exposure Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9780802124937
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Atlantic Monthly Press - April 5th, 2016

"Dunmore so cleverly interweaves each of the character's stories that as the tale unfolds it has the chilling ring of absolute authenticity. It's gripping and page turning and all those things you expect in a Spy Drama--but always laced with her trademark humanity. I was totally caught up in the story which is paced perfectly. Her best book yet."--Mavis Cheek


The Summer Before the War

Helen Simonson's heartfelt novel captures life in the small English coastal town of Rye. It is the summer of 1914, short months before every's lives are changed as WWI begins. Every character is beautifully drawn and the beauty of the countryside is vividly described. This book follows her wonderful novel Major Pettigrew's Last Stand, and I loved both of them. Recommended by Rochelle

Staff Pick Logo
The Summer Before the War Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780812993103
Availability: Special Order
Published: Random House - March 22nd, 2016

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - "A novel to cure your Downton Abbey withdrawal . . . a delightful story about nontraditional romantic relationships, class snobbery and the everybody-knows-everybody complications of living in a small community."--The Washington Post


Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?

Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? by Frans de Waal. The short answer is--we're getting there. The gist of this fascinating book is that we've long been using the wrong measures for things like "consciousness," "self-awareness," and "intention," all once considered qualities possessed only by humans. But as the many experiments that primatologist de Waal recounts show, if you use the proper controls and keep an open mind, you'll find animals are far more "like" us than we give them credit--which changes everything. Recommended by Kelly

Staff Pick Logo
Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9780393246186
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - April 25th, 2016

What separates your mind from an animal's? Maybe you think it's your ability to design tools, your sense of self, or your grasp of past and future--all traits that have helped us define ourselves as the planet's preeminent species. But in recent decades, these claims have eroded, or even been disproven outright, by a revolution in the study of animal cognition.


Fluent in 3 Months

Fluent in 3 Months: How Anyone at Any Age Can Learn to Speak Any Language from Anywhere in the World by Benny Lewis. This morning I woke up oddly early, before the sun even. I sat down on the couch, curled up with a blanket and my coffee, and finished the second half of Benny Lewis's, Fluent in 3 Months. Upon finishing the book, I felt an absolute ardent urgency to further my second language skills. I spent the next five hours speaking aloud, working on my script, and singing along to ridiculous alphabet songs.

Staff Pick Logo
Fluent in 3 Months: How Anyone at Any Age Can Learn to Speak Any Language from Anywhere in the World Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062282699
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: HarperOne - March 11th, 2014

Benny Lewis, who speaks over ten languages--all self-taught--runs the largest language-learning blog in the world, Fluent In 3 Months. Lewis is a full-time "language hacker," someone who devotes all of his time to finding better, faster, and more efficient ways to learn languages.


Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth

Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth, by Warsan Shire. Kenyan Born and Somalian, Shire provides a unique perspective into femininity and religiosity. As each poem unfolds, an unyielding benevolence to her surroundings and interactions with her family, peers, and her Islamic background begin to converge and take on a new shape. Celebrated by Beyonce, I was intrigued to see what she deemed poetic, I was pleasantly surprised by the depth and emotion displayed in each and every word. A powerful insight into a traumatic, veiled world. Recommended by Jenna

Staff Pick Logo
Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth Cover Image
$12.00
ISBN: 9781905233298
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Flipped Eye Publishing Limited - August 3rd, 2012

What elevates 'teaching my mother how to give birth', what gives the poems their disturbing brilliance, is Warsan Shire's ability to give simple, beautiful eloquence to the veiled world where sensuality lives in the dominant narrative of Islam; reclaiming the more nuanced truths of earlier times - as in Tayeb Salih's work - and translating to the realm of lyric the work of the likes of Nawal El Sa


Homegoing

Yaa Gyasi's Homegoing is an amazingly ambitious novel, a bold and accomplished debut from a promising young talent. The book's real ambition stems from its structure—in alternating chapters, Gyasi follows the descendants of two children of the same African mystery woman, a family tree starting with two sisters that don't know of each other at all. One branch of the tree stays in Africa, and the other goes to America through slavery.

Staff Pick Logo
Homegoing Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9781101947135
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Knopf Publishing Group - June 7th, 2016

Winner of the NBCC's John Leonard First Book Prize
A New York Times 2016 Notable Book
One of Oprah's 10 Favorite Books of 2016
NPR's Debut Novel of the Year
One of Buzzfeed's Best Fiction Books Of 2016
One of Time's Top 10 Novels of 2016

"Homegoing is an inspiration." --Ta-Nehisi Coates


We Should All Be Feminists

Well, shouldn’t we be? This is a small collection of essays delving into the versatility of equality and its quintessential necessity for a society to progress. This book demands your attention and leaves you with more questions than answers. It provides a starting point to further pursue equality. How will you be the change? Recommended by Jenna

Staff Pick Logo
We Should All Be Feminists Cover Image
$7.95
ISBN: 9781101911761
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Anchor Books - February 3rd, 2015

The highly acclaimed, provocative New York Times bestseller--a personal, eloquently-argued essay, adapted from the much-admired TEDx talk of the same name--from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, award-winning author of Americanah. Here she offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century, one rooted in inclusion and awareness.


The Natural Way of Things

Charlotte Wood’s The Natural Way of Things is a blistering, intense, often violent page-turner depicting a colony of 10 women imprisoned inside an electric fence in the Australian Outback. Each woman was central to some kind of notorious sex scandal, and is punished by being drugged and sent to this desolate encampment. The Natural Way of Things, Wood’s first novel available in America, is the feminist One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest: a brutal allegory, a searing feminist critique, a scathing satire. Yes, The Natural Way of Things may keep you up at night.

The Natural Way of Things Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781609453626
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Europa Editions - June 28th, 2016

"A Handmaid's Tale for the 21st century" (Prism Magazine), Wood's dystopian tale about a group of young women held prisoner in the Australian desert is a prescient feminist fable for our times. As the Guardian writes, "contemporary feminism may have found its masterpiece of horror."


The Girls

Emma Cline's The Girls is a gripping, thrilling coming-of-age story with a lot to say about gender and growing up. Set in a heady 1969 Bay Area, it follows Evie as she falls in and out with a cult deeply reminiscent of the Manson Family. It's a page-turner with a brain, a meditative book with a strongly argued point that nevertheless manages to thrill and titillate like a good summer read should. Recommended by Danny

The Girls Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780812998603
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House - June 14th, 2016

THE INSTANT BESTSELLER - An indelible portrait of girls, the women they become, and that moment in life when everything can go horribly wrong
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY


Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Book Reviews