What have you been reading? Book Reviews, June 2011
Here are some book reviews by staff, volunteers, and friends!
Holes by Louis Sachar:: This is a playful story that follows Stanley Yelnata into a juvenile detention center where the inmates have to dig holes all day. You find out why as the stones of the Yelnata family curse, funky onions, and an interracial romance in the 1800s all weave together. In the end, it’s really just about believing in yourself and making the most of things. ~Kate S.
The Giver by Lois Lowry:: This book was pivotal in my development as a reader; for the first time, I conceptualized a book as more than a story and recognized a unique writing style and broader themes as integral parts of the experience the book offered. This is a perfect book for questioning readers who are ready to delve into the gray zones of life. ~Ledah
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides:: Eugenides follows up The Virgin Suicides with this tighter, though less lyrical, narrative that spans three generations and two continents. Readers are drawn into the family’s stories of immigration, assimilation, and, ultimately, the protagonist’s coming of age as an intersex individual in a world obsessed with gender boxes. Sweeping but intimate exploration of normalcy and belonging. ~Kate S.
Midwives by Chris Bohjalian:: I love a fictional story about midwifery, what can I say? Midwives is suspenseful, smart, and moving and highlights the struggle midwives have had to defend home-births to the medical communities through time. ~Amber, Co-Director
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant:: This may be one of my favorite fiction books of all time. It is an emotional retelling of Genesis, Chapter 34 from the perspective of Dinah, who doesn’t actually have a voice in The Bible. The story is focused through the lens of herself and the women around her and explores the ways women formed community in the red tent. ~
The Dialectic of Sex by Shulamith Firestone:: Bam! Firestone drops a radical feminist bomb! Powerful even when problematic (racism id sexism extended?!), Shuly makes compelling arguments regarding not only gender, but childhood, education, and romance. Plus, it’s fun to be seen reading this in public! ~Kate S.
Parrotfish by Ellen Wittlinger:: Here is a YA novel that manages to skillfully portray many of the realities of life for teenage trans/gender non-conforming folks, without being so scary it will frighten people back into the closet. In Grady, Wittlinger has created an endearing and confident character who readers of many ages and genders will easily relate to; Parrotfish seems to say “yeah, this gender thing is pretty complicated, but you know what’s best for you and other folks will come around.” One of the best queer YA novels I’ve read (and I’ve read too many!). ~Ledah
If any of these titles interest you, give us a call or drop in and pick it up from In Other Words! See you soon!