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Tag: racism

Review: Kiese Laymon’s “Heavy”

The best thing any story can do is bring people closer together. Sometimes people derive common cause from a story. Sometimes lovers find each other in the dark because the story turns the lights out. Sometimes enemies discover in the story one another’s mortal weakness. Sometimes the reader and author, separate in every way the [...]

Review: Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart”

Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart has been on my radar for a long time, so I decided to pick it up as part of an effort to explore authors from backgrounds and cultures different from my own. And while that process has generally proved fruitful, I disliked every aspect of this book. Things Fall Apart takes place [...]

Review: Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor’s “From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation”

In the fetid wake of Donald Trump’s election two years ago, I found myself awash in unwelcome questions: How could someone so obviously unfit for office be elected President of the United States? Why had so many of my fellow voters failed to recoil at the blatant petulance and dishonesty that saturated his political persona? [...]

Review: Angie Thomas’s “The Hate U Give”

Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give was recommended by a friend who thought reading it would be a good experience for me, and she was right. I struggled with this novel for a few different reasons, but ultimately found that it was worth the effort. It is always useful to engage with new perspectives, and I think [...]

Review: Adam Hochschild’s “King Leopold’s Ghost”

I am fortunate to have a mother who recommended this book and a father-in-law who gifted it to me. Given their convergent enthusiasm for this fascinating but grim piece of history, I expected something unique. Even so, I was unprepared for the wild ride of Adam Hochschild’s King Leopold’s Ghost. This book is a quintessential example [...]

Review: Richard Wright’s “Black Boy”

Recently, the desire arose in me to read something that might help me better understand the internal perspectives of African-Americans and my country’s ignominious legacy of slavery. My mother, who spent a long career teaching American history to undergraduates, recommended Richard Wright’s autobiography, Black Boy. And although I expected the book to be good, I didn’t anticipate [...]

Review: Lorrie Moore’s “Anagrams”

Lorrie Moore’s Anagrams is nothing short of a masterpiece––the perfect book to save me from of a recent string of novels that didn’t cut the mustard. A befitting analysis would require a high degree of literary scrutiny, something I am probably too many years removed from my college days to muster. But I will trot out what [...]

Review: Adrienne Rich’s “On Lies, Secrets, and Silence”

Months ago, my decision to purchase this book was an act of intellectual calculation. I’d heard an excellent recommendation on a podcast, and believed dipping into the mind of Adrienne Rich would be edifying. In the wake of the recent election, however, I grabbed this collection of essays off my bookshelf in an act of [...]

Review: Ilona Andrews’s “Magic Slays”

Two-thirds of the way through, I was all set to give Magic Slays a lukewarm review. I felt like I was reading the inevitable slump in Kate Daniels’s story––the one where her clever mouth, kick-ass fighting moves, and romantic difficulties all start to feel more enervating than exciting. And while there is an element of routine in [...]

Review: Ken Kesey’s “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”

Any novel should be cut a little slack to adjust for the historical context in which it was written. Even knowing this, I failed utterly in my attempt to give Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest a fair reading. Try as I might, I couldn’t dispense with my modern viewpoint enough to enjoy Kesey’s classic, [...]