Grant by Ron Chernow (Historical Biography, 2017). Chernow, an award-winning biographer, tackles another key figure in American history in this, his latest book. He produces a richly detailed and forthright account of the man known to us as US Grant. With obvious sympathy and appreciation of his subject’s often underrated abilities, Chernow nonetheless doesn’t shy away […]Read more "REVIEWED: Grant"
The Light in the Forest by Conrad Richter (Historical Young Adult Novel, 1953). This brief (159 pages) YA book is considered a classic. A tale of a young man caught between two cultures, one he was born into and one he’s grown up in, who finds that he is tragically unable to fully embrace either. It’s […]Read more "REVIEWED: The Light in the Forest"
The Floating World by C. Morgan Babst (Contemporary Novel, 2017). This novel focuses on an multi-racial family struggling to deal with Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. The disaster exaggerates and forces them to confront underlying tensions and issues none of them are eager to admit to, let alone confront. Tess, the mother, is a wealthy white […]Read more "REVIEWED: The Floating World"
What Unites Us by Dan Rather and Elliot Kirschner (Political Essay Collection, 2017). This 274 page volume contains 15 essays by the veteran newsman (with the assistance of his longtime producer) on various aspects of today’s America. It also contains many interesting remembrances from Rather’s personal and career past that in some way relate to each […]Read more "REVIEWED: What Unites Us"
A Hiss Before Dying by Rita Mae Brown and Sneaky Pie Brown (Cat Detective Novel, 2017). Yes, our favorite feline co-author and her human helper are at it again. The title is, of course, a playful pun on a classic hardboiled mystery novel (shame on you for two weeks, if you can’t puzzle out which one). […]Read more "REVIEWED: A HISS BEFORE DYING"
Endurance by Scott Kelly (and Margaret Lazarus Dean) (Memoir, 2017). In this book, veteran astronaut Scott Kelly tells his life story, with particular focus on his final space mission—-in which he and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko spent a record 340 days on the International Space Station. This was designed as a test of how such an […]Read more "REVIEWED: Endurance"
Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo MBue (Contemporary Novel, 2017). I pretty much agree with the front-cover blurb (a quote from The New York Times’ review of this strong first novel). The author is, like her main characters, a native of Limbe (a city on the west-African coast of Cameroon). She’s lived in the US for over a decade […]Read more "REVIEWED: Behold the Dreamers"