September 21st, 2016

book talk // the underground railroad.

“All men are created equal, unless we decide you are not a man.”

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead fits squarely into a categorization I would refer to as “novels of pain” — a subheading I would also attribute to books such as A Little Life and Beloved.

I will begin by acknowledging that this is the first novel I’ve read by Whitehead and, therefore, I can offer no

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April 14th, 2016

book talk // lukewarm feels.

I am a committed and monogamous book reader. I pick up one book at a time and devote myself fully to it.

In the past, I have trudged through every book I picked up, determined to reach the conclusion because it simply HAS to be worth the time I put in. Right?

Well, as it turns out, that is not always the case. So, I have started putting them down.

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April 8th, 2016

book talk // margaret the first.

I’d heard about Margaret the First by Danielle Dutton on Book Riot’s podcast; then, my local bookstore had the (strikingly beautiful!) cover art on prominent display.

And yet, I knew nothing of Margaret Cavendish when I picked up this book. Nor did I have any expectations regarding Dutton’s writing style or really the genre of the book itself.

The novel is a merging of literary and historical fiction that unravels

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March 2nd, 2016

book talk // natives.

Inongo vi Makomè’s Natives (translated by Michael Ugarte) is a book I picked up because of the cover, and kept because of the description. I am reading a lot of literature in translation lately, and Natives happens to fit into that niche obsession. It’s also one of the few African novels to be translated from Spanish to English. So interesting! The added beauty of reading books and authors that haven’t

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February 22nd, 2016

book talk // sudden death.

Sometimes you read a book and realize that, perhaps, it’s the greatest novel you’ve ever read – or, perhaps, it’s an indictment of every novel you’ve ever read – or, perhaps, it’s not a novel at all.

“The only real things in a novel are the sequences of letters, words, and sentences that make it up, and the paper on which they’re printed.”

Álvaro Enrigue has penned a magnificent

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February 9th, 2016

book talk // a tale for the time being.

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki was, in a word, unexpected.

I picked it up because a remaindered copy was on sale at my local bookstore and I liked the cover art, plus I had a vague understanding that it was about Japan.

The story itself involves the lives of two different characters and takes place in two different times: Ruth, a novelist (who is both the

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February 1st, 2016

book talk // some thoughts on harry potter.

I read Harry Potter as an adult. I read it while I was living in South Korea and, somehow, my days were longer, stretched thin like gossamer, and words poured more easily into me. I read a lot that year, but Harry Potter lingered in a way that the others did not.

I didn’t read the books as they came out. I was determinedly reading whatever could

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January 18th, 2016

book talk // carry on.

Sometimes when I finish reading a book, I am hesitant to begin another one immediately because I feel like I am cheating on the former. It’s silly, but I am a very monogamous book reader.

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell was one of those books.

I didn’t want it to end and immediately wanted to discuss it, with ANYone, but I was banished to a cone of silence because

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January 13th, 2016

book talk // the story of my teeth.

I first saw The Story of My Teeth by Valeria Luiselli featured prominently at a local bookstore. Then, a friend described it to me as their “favorite book of 2015.” Naturally, I had to check it out.

However, days later, I still feel about The Story of My Teeth the way I do when I wander out of some ultra modern art exhibit made of gum, a dirty urinal, and

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July 21st, 2015

book talk // swamplandia.

Swamplandia! by Karen Russell is a book about the alligator-wrestling Bigtree clan living, essentially alone, in the Florida swamps. Chief Bigtree, who is not a native-American at all, runs a fairly successful tourist attraction called Swamplandia! where his wife, Hilola Bigtree, is the star — each night she dives into a pit of alligators (whom they lovingly call “Seth”, or “the Seths”) and emerging, unscathed, at the other end of

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