Identity Crisis

The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty Vendela Vida Take inventory of what distinguishes you from the everyone else and you’ll find there’s really quite a lot. There are obvious things like your name, your physical description, and the clothes on your back, and then there are esoteric things like experiences, memories, and the people who populate…

Form Over Fiction

God Help the Child Toni Morrison Toni Morrison, an author that I gladly read twice, thrice, whatever it takes, that I study and annotate and emulate, came out with her highly anticipated novel, God Help the Child. Even with her illustrious presence as author, literary thought leader, Nobel, Pulitzer, et al., this, her eleventh novel,…

Beloved: A Biblical Excavation

Beloved Toni Morrison What more is there to say about Beloved, the Pulitzer Prize winning novel written by Toni Morrison? It tackles the ghostly legacy of slavery. It uses both cultural and biblical mysticism in its narrative. Its prose is lyrical and literally shifts to poetry at some points, notably in part two when the three main…

Healing from Family Rifts

Healing from Family Rifts: Ten Steps to Finding Peace After Being Cut Off from a Family Member Mark Sichel I didn’t find this book. This book found me! I was sitting in the waiting room at the doctor’s office and noticed it on the bookshelf. While all the other books were placed uniformly, this one was…

Emotions vs. Economics

Still Alice Lisa Genova In Lisa Genova’s extraordinary New York Times bestselling novel, Alice Howland, an accomplished professor diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease learns that her worth is comprised of more than her ability to remember. Alice is proud of the life she worked so hard to build. At fifty years old, she’s a cognitive psychology professor at…

Toxic Love

White Oleander Janet Fitch In creative writing workshops the first thing you learn is to “show instead of tell” your story.  This applies to character, setting, scene, etc., and author Janet Fitch’s novel, White Oleander, is my go-to book for examples in doing this.  She’s written a novel rich with sensory detail and prose so…

What is it to be…me?

The Joy Luck Club Amy Tan Most of you have probably read The Joy Luck Club, by Amy Tan.  If you haven’t, then you’ve most likely seen the movie adaptation directed by Wayne Wang and produced by Oliver Stone.  This was my second time reading the book, and it was ironically prompted by my high…

The Bluest Eye

The Bluest Eye Toni Morrison Wow! My first read of Toni Morrison, and it did not disappoint. It was powerful and weighted–normally I’d brace myself for a read like this before jumping in. So, ignorance is bliss, and I jumped, committing to finishing the book in three days. Subjects addressed in The Bluest Eye…race, class,…

The Mighty Miss Malone

The Mighty Miss Malone Christopher Paul Curtis The Mighty Miss Malone, Bud Not Buddy, The Watsons Go To Birmingham. What do these books have in common, besides a great children’s literature author? They have history, social studies, suspense, humor and heartwarmingly hopeful stories. At a time when children’s literature is inundated with fearful characters and…