Book Review: Sweetland by Michael Crummey

» 26 April, 2015 » Book Reviews » 2 comments

Book Review: Sweetland by Michael Crummey

Michael Crummey’s Sweetland was a difficult novel for me, not because I didn’t like it or because I had serious issues with it, but because I felt more ambiguous about it than anything else. I lean towards liking it overall, but I really can’t be sure. I’m very uncertain. It was definitely hard going at first, I felt. Crummey’s style makes extremely heavy use of fragments—I’d say at least 25% of the sentences in Sweetland were fragments, usually participial phrases that didn’t modify anything. I’d find myself reading an “-ing” verb on its own, grow […]

Leafing Through Lit: Villette

» 25 April, 2015 » Leafing Through Lit » 0 comments

Leafing Through Lit: Villette

I absolutely love so-called “Classic” literature, and this feature was born of that love. Leafing Through Lit is my way of spotlighting and commenting on old-school lit. This is not a formal review, per se, though it might have similarities in format. However, I won’t attempt to be nearly as objective as usual in this feature, so mostly I’ll talk about my feelings related to books and stories. Villette by Charlotte Brontë The Story After an undisclosed family tragedy leaves her destitute, 23-year-old Lucy Snowe goes to the fictional town of Villette (psuedo-Brussels) to become […]

Book Review: Reign of Madness by Lynn Cullen

» 24 April, 2015 » Book Reviews » 1 comment

Book Review: Reign of Madness by Lynn Cullen

Lynn Cullen’s Reign of Madness offers a window into the life of one of Spain’s most notorious monarchs, Juana “the Mad” of Castile. Third child of the famous Spanish rulers, Fernando and Isabel, Juana married a Habsburg archduke, and upon the deaths of her elder siblings and mother, became the heir to her mother’s kingdoms. However, common consensus was that she was insane, so her husband had her put under house arrest, and after her husband died, Juana was kept imprisoned by her father and later her older son. Reign of Madness spans a time […]

Book Review: Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie

» 23 April, 2015 » Book Reviews » 0 comments

Book Review: Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie

In the early 1970s, two middle-class Chinese boys are sent to a rural mountain village to be “re-educated” by the wholesome peasant farmers. The boys know they are unlikely to ever complete their re-education and be permitted to return to their city and families, so are resigned to the dismal prospect of living in the village for the rest of their lives. The only bright spots come in the form of the daughter of the local tailor and a suitcase full of banned books. Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress is a slim, fast-reading book, […]

Book Review: The Hero by Robyn Carr

» 22 April, 2015 » Book Reviews » 0 comments

Book Review: The Hero by Robyn Carr

This being my second low-rated read from Robyn Carr’s Thunder Point series, I do believe I’m going to call it quits. There are some things to enjoy about these books, but there’s far more to be frustrated with, and though I didn’t outright hate The Hero, I really didn’t like it, either. The big problem is that Carr, like so many other authors of contemporary romance, suffuses her stories with sex shaming, gender essentialism, and heavy-handed reinforcement of gender roles. Probably she doesn’t mean to be sexist, but I was very disquieted by a lot […]