The Nightengale by Kristen Hannah (2015)

Unlike my previous post about The Door, this book is a page turner the lacks the poetic flow and complexity of Szabo's writing, but it offers a compelling WWII story that kept me up until 2 am reading the last 150 pages because I simply couldn't go to bed without finishing it. Set in France… Continue reading The Nightengale by Kristen Hannah (2015)

How to Read the Air by Dinaw Mengestu ( 2010)

I like Mengestu’s books because he conveys the Ethiopian immigrant experience, something I know little about, but I can’t say I love his writing. How to Read the Air feels like it contains similar holes in plot, motive, and character that I found a few years ago in his previous novel The Beautiful Things that… Continue reading How to Read the Air by Dinaw Mengestu ( 2010)

Child of My Heart by Alice McDermott (2002)

What I loved about Charming Billy, McDermott's last novel (~ 1999) were the intricate details of specific scenes and characters.  After 10+ years, I can still see the funeral parlor.  Similarly, in Child of My Heart, McDermott zeros in on her main character's every move.  The whole novel covers maybe a few weeks in the… Continue reading Child of My Heart by Alice McDermott (2002)

**Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother (2011) by Amy Chua

When an excerpt from this book was printed on the front page of the Weekend Journal, it started a fascination with (or repugnance of) Chinese parenting---along with a lot of fan mail and hate mail for Amy Chua.  The Journal article, however, led readers a bit astray.  It made her book seem like an argument… Continue reading **Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother (2011) by Amy Chua

**Great House by Nicole Krauss (2010)

I still think of the writing in History of Love, Krauss's previous book, whenever I'm asked about beautiful prose.  And she's done it again in Great House.  Though her novels are not short, they read like prose poetry--something few authors can pull off page after page for 300 pages.  I read countless sentences three or… Continue reading **Great House by Nicole Krauss (2010)

Still Alice by Lisa Genova (2007)

This is not an uplifting book, but it's an important book.  Written like a memoir in its candidness, it tells the story of Alice Howland, a psych professor at Harvard, who was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's Disease at age 49, in the prime of her career.  It's actually fiction, and Genova is a neuroscientist,… Continue reading Still Alice by Lisa Genova (2007)

*Ultra Marathon Man: Confessions of an all night runner by Dean Karnazes

I picked this up from one of my students and started flipping through it for fun, but then I couldn't put it down, so I asked to take it home, and I finished it in an evening.  It's a quick read, and I quickly felt overwhelming guilt for all the times I whined during a… Continue reading *Ultra Marathon Man: Confessions of an all night runner by Dean Karnazes