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book review

“Washington Black” Paints a Fresh Slave Narrative

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With history, science and creativity, Esi Edugyan’s Washington Black (Knopf) tells the story of an 11-year-old slave in Barbados and his adventurous escape to freedom.  Washington Black, or Wash, brought up in the sugar cane fields, experienced more than his share of oppression, suffering and abuse. When the slave master’s brother, Titch, visits the plantation and asks for the boy to be loaned to him, an unusual friendship and reliance develops between the two. Growing up among brutal violence, Wash finds Titch to be a father figure. Titch is an abolitionist at heart and although he is focused on his scientific discovery of a flying machine, he provides an opportunity for Wash as he teaches him to read and nurture his…

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Tall Poppy Review: “The Simplicity of Cider” Fresh in Fall

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Charming and enchanting, The Simplicity of Cider (Gallery Books) by Amy E. Reichert is a must-read for Fall. Set in Door County, Wisconsin on an apple orchard, Reichert’s descriptions of the land, owned by the fascinating Lund family for five generations, is only rivaled by the mouthwatering food served in their kitchen. The combination is a recipe for joy and romance that readers will delight in. Orchardist Sanna Lund has a way of looking at things differently and stays busy fine-tuning cider she makes from apples that others thought were unusable. She has inherited a gift, too, a magical one, and she hopes her endeavors will save the struggling orchard that she runs with her aging father, even though her brother urges…

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Elegant and Poetic, Carrie La Seur’s ‘The Weight of an Infinite Sky’ Draws Inspiration from Shakespeare

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The second novel from environmental lawyer Carrie La Seur, The Weight of an Infinite Sky is a stunning story about family, murder, betrayal, and love, drawing in elements of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Set in the unforgiving, open land of Montana, La Seur easily captures the essence of the West in her writing, making each reader feel the soul of the Montana earth around them. Elegant, poignant, and poetic, The Weight of an Infinite Sky is a beautiful addition to La Seur’s works. Anthony Fry rebelled against the family expectations that, as the only son, he would take over the cattle ranch from his father; a business that had been in the family for generations. Instead, Anthony dreamt of leaving Montana for the city, hoping for…

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Chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s New Memoir is Comfort Food for the Literary Soul

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Not many people have lead a life like that of Nobu Matsuhisa. Born in Saitama, Japan, he and his brother were raised solely by their mother, their father dying in a traffic accident when Matsuhisa was just seven years old. After graduating high school, he worked at a restaurant for seven years, in Tokyo, before moving to Peru at the age of 24, at the urging of a regular customer-turned-sponsor, to open a Japanese restaurant. What followed has created history: unable to find the Japanese ingredients he has used for so long, Nobu was forced to improvise, using local Peruvian ingredients to create Japanese dishes, which would ultimately become Nobu’s signature flare. With more than a dozen restaurants open under his…

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In ‘The New Old Me,’ Meredith Maran Proves 60 Can Be the New 20

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A great undiscovered jewel, and from what I infer, a book that deserves to get into every single book club in the nation, and beyond. My enthusiasm is perhaps excessive. There comes a time when a book appears and has valuable lessons to teach us. We learn something we never suspected existed. People, at 60, have a life as well, and they go through ups and downs and reinvention of self like the rest of us, and still have to learn lessons along the way. They can even display resilience and an appetite for life. It is pleasant surprise that a publisher would release a book that actually concerns our aging nation, where so much emphasis rests on the land…

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Kelly Harms’ Latest Novel is Your Perfect “Match” This Summer

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At BookTrib, we are constantly searching for the best ways to connect readers with writers, opening their eyes and worlds to fresh ideas! This is how we came across a wonderful group known as the Tall Poppies, who are not only avid readers, but extremely talented writers as well! This is the third installment of our weekly Tall Poppies book review series, and more are on the way! Kelly Harms has a knack for transporting her readers to the beautiful locations in which her books are set. In her debut novel, The Good Luck Girls of Shipwreck Lane, it was the sunny and windswept coast of Maine. Now, with The Matchmakers of Minnow Bay, Harms takes us to the snowy woods of…

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Drama, Tragedy and Redemption: Karma Brown’s ‘In This Moment’ Explores The Dark Side of Suburban Life

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In her first two novels, Come Away With Me and The Choices We Make, Karma Brown takes her readers on a journey through creatively imagined plots outside usual personal experiences, carefully connecting readers to the emotions of the unique plotlines through well drawn characters and brilliant pacing. In her newest novel, In this Moment (Park Row Books), Karma Brown pulls her readers into the story through the most relatable of contemporary experiences – that of a parent with a floundering grasp on the mechanisms of her seemingly well run life. “I mentally run through my day to figure out how I can be in two places at once – at my last showing and in the school pickup queue.” The…

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Pauline Lévêque and Florence Mars: The Culture of Raising Children

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If you lived abroad for an extended period, even simply during a semester off while in college, you know that cultures are nothing alike. There is as much in common between Russian and Portuguese bread than between a whale and a tiger. That is what gives the world its colors and texture. There has been a bevy of books about raising children in foreign countries of late. France and Paris seem to be the major targets of this topic. A mother forced to live abroad because her husband’s multi-national has relocated the family to a distant land or simply a single mom in search of new adventures learn quickly that, in France, things are not quite the same as in…

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Author Christine Pakkala Discovers a Different Home in Emily Ruskovich’s ‘Idaho’

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The Idaho where I grew up is a very different place than the one Emily Ruskovich describes in her lyrical and thrilling novel, Idaho. My Idaho was a place of drive-ins and pulp mill pollution, long stretches of empty highway, and crowded pews in church. Hers is a romantic place, a majestic land where its inhabitants know the name of flowers and weeds. They know how to live both on and from the land. Like the white nationalists who hunkered down on Ruby Ridge, Ruskovich’s main characters sequester themselves on a north Idaho mountaintop, dangerously isolated in winter, paradisically alone in summer. In Ruskovich’s Idaho, isolation provides an opportunity for a crime so shocking and unfathomable, it burns at the…

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Author Lisa Duffy Hits a Home Run with Debut Novel, ‘The Salt House’

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the salt house book review

In The Salt House, author Lisa Duffy masterfully takes us deep into the layers of emotions of the Kelly family as they work through feelings of guilt, responsibility and pain following a tragic family loss. The story is set in a small coastal fishing town in Maine where the Kelly’s are struggling. After losing their baby, Hope is paralyzed with grief; she is having trouble moving forward and is unable to return to work. She refuses to scatter the ashes and has been reluctant to continue with the renovation of the Salt House, the home the family loves and plans to move in to. Jack, a lobster fisherman, throws himself into his work on the boat, is rarely home with his wife and…

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Sheryl Sandberg’s ‘Option B’ is a Heartbreaking Story and an Inspirational Guide to Living

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option B sheryl sandberg review

Sheryl Sandberg suffered a tragic and unthinkable loss when her husband died on vacation, and just like anyone else, she had to develop coping strategies and solutions to problems in order to work through her grief, comfort her children and get back to living. Her personal story is honest, devastating and inspiring as she, along with her friend and co-writer, Adam Grant, present a lot of great information and ideas for those who have experienced a loss, also providing advice and suggestions for friends, family and coworkers on how to be supportive and understanding in Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy. The book has expertly woven Sandberg’s personal stories with a more technical approach to grief. Based on research, Sandberg and Grant suggest…

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Lisa Jewell Perfectly Writes Complicated Relationships in ‘I Found You’

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I found you book review

I discovered Lisa Jewell when I picked up The House We Grew Up In last year, a story about a dysfunctional family with a matriarch who is a hoarder, and I couldn’t put it down. I took the book with me to the bathroom so I wouldn’t have to stop reading. Jewell has the rare ability to create compelling characters and twisty plotlines that hook me from the first sentence. I Found You, her latest novel, is no exception. The third person narration initially switches between Alice, a harried single mother of three who lives in a cottage in Ridinghouse Bay on the coast of northern England, and Lily, a 21-year-old Ukranian newlywed who has just moved to London to…

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Loved It! Camille Di Maio’s ‘Before the Rain Falls’ Full of Heartbreak and Hope

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Camille Di Maio’s Before the Rain Falls explores the 1940s, when Della was charged with murdering her sister and spent many years of her life in jail. Now an old woman, she returns to her family home in Puerto Pesar, Texas, with no family or friends. Around the same time, Paloma returns to the Texas home she grew up in to care for her grandma and reconnect with her teenage sister. In Boston, aggressive journalist Mick, reprimanded for running a story with inaccuracies is sent to Puerto Pesar on a mission for a soft news story about a painting of a girl that appears to be crying. Each chapter reveals more about Della and Paloma, and we get a glimpse…

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SJ Sindu’s ‘Marriage of a Thousand Lies’ Explores the Multicultural Struggles of LGBTQ Life

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marriage of a thousand lies sj sindu review

A lovely debut, Marriage of a Thousand Lies (Soho Press, June 13, 2017) brings to light the layers of struggles that shape our decisions on how we choose to live our lives. Lucky and her husband Kris are both gay, in a marriage of convenience to keep Kris in the country and for Lucky to mend the relationship with her disapproving family and save face in the eyes of the Sri Lanken community. Lucky returns home to care for her ill grandmother and is reunited with Nisha, her old friend whom she had a romantic relationship with when they were younger. Nisha is preparing for her arranged marriage to a man, but in the weeks leading up to her wedding…

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J. Courtney Sullivan’s ‘Saints for All Occasions’ Explores Family Secrets

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saints for all occasions review

Read on for a review of J. Courtney Sullivan’s Saints for All Occasions, by Jane Green, author of The Sunshine Sisters. Nora and Theresa Flynn are 21 and 17 when they leave their small village in Ireland and journey to America. Nora is the responsible sister; she’s shy and serious and engaged to a man she isn’t sure that she loves. Theresa is gregarious; she is thrilled by their new life in Boston and besotted with the fashionable dresses and dance halls on Dudley Street. But when Theresa ends up pregnant, Nora is forced to come up with a plan—a decision with repercussions they are both far too young to understand. Fifty years later, Nora is the matriarch of a…

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Angie Thomas Beautifully Takes on Daily Injustices in ‘The Hate U Give’

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the hate u give review

Read on for a review of The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, which received Eight Starred Reviews and is No. 1 New York Times bestseller! Debut YA novels by little-known black former rappers rarely start eight-way bidding wars among publishers, but Angie Thomas’ The Hate U Give, soon to be a movie starring The Hunger Games alum and current it-girl Amandla Stenberg, is an understandable exception. This smart, funny YA novel’s plot centers around how 16 year-old Starr Carter copes with being the sole witness to the shooting, by a white police officer, of her unarmed childhood best friend, Kahlil. The book springs from the headlines, but the story it tells engages the reader on a level far deeper…

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