Book Review: Emma Donoghue, Frog Music

A historical mystery based on the unsolved murder of Jenny Bonnet in San Francisco in 1876. Fast moving and well written, I especially loved the afterward that delved briefly into the lives of the real people these characters are based on, and how Donoghue tried to keep faithful to what really happened, while acknowledging that because of journalist’s tendency to fabricate at times, it’s still a fiction. Also contains a description of the songs Blanche la danseuse sings throughout the novel and a French Glossary of Terms.

Book Review: Rebecca Solnit, The Encyclopedia of Trouble and Spaciousness

Rebecca Solnit’s books are a light in the darkness as she tirelessly demonstrates in essay after essay that small actions do work, that positive change is happening, and that everyday ways of living and being can be profound. Covering everything from the Arab Spring and Zapatista revolutions to the BP oil spill and climate change, these are important essays, when reminders that “the true revolutionary needs to be as patient as a snail” seem especially relevant.

Book Review: Roxane Gay, An Untamed State

This book is very difficult to read and that is exactly why it is so important.

I had a crazy surreal feeling as I read this book that I had read it already. But the end was unfamiliar so I’m not sure. But it’s possible: when this book was published I was just starting to come out of an intense period of mourning, transitioning into grief. There are a lot of holes in my memory from that period of my life….

Book Review: Jesmyn Ward, The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks about Race

Rare is the book that you wish hadn’t ended at the same time you wish it didn’t ever have to be written. A thoughtful collection of poetry and prose  examining the state of racism after the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri on 9 August 2014 brought attention to the epidemic of police shootings of unarmed Black men in the US. At times heartbreaking, at times uplifting, this should be required reading for everyone. I especially loved Garnette Cadogan’s “Black and Blue,” pedestrian that I am.