Maybe I Should be Reading with Cliff’s Notes…

So there I am, reading a classic like Bless Me, Ultima or something. And I’m reading it, and it’s gorgeous, and I can tell that it’s amazing, and I can tell that the author is trying to tell me SOMETHING, but I just. can’t. figure. it out.

I can’t be the only person this happens to, right?

I don’t know what it is about 20th century literature, but I always feel like I’m missing something. I know enough about literature to be able to tell that something is going on, but not enough to tell what it is. Maybe it’s that the literary elements they teach us in school like metaphor and symbolism are more relevant to Romantic literature than Modern and Postmodern. Maybe it’s just that I don’t really know all that much about literature, and I can’t figure it out without a teacher holding my hand.

I really want to like these books. I feel like I almost like them. I just don’t understand them well enough.

Continue reading “Maybe I Should be Reading with Cliff’s Notes…”
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Review: An American Marraige

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Genre: Fiction
Maturity Level: 5
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Rating: ⋆⋆⋆⋆


Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. In this deft exploration of love, loyalty, race, justice, and both Black masculinity and Black womanhood in 21st century America, Jones achieves that most-elusive of all literary goals: the Great American Novel. 


Wow. What a beautiful book. The writing was so lush, and lovely, and lyrical. I was expecting this to be a powerful book, but I was completely taken by surprise by how incredible the writing was.

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Review: Bel Canto

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

bel cantoGenre: Fiction
Maturity Level: 4
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Rating: ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆


In an unnamed South American country, a world-renowned soprano sings at a birthday party in honor of a visiting Japanese industrial titan. Alas, in the opening sequence, a ragtag band of 18 terrorists enters the vice-presidential mansion through the air conditioning ducts. Their quarry is the president, who has unfortunately stayed home to watch a favorite soap opera. And thus, from the beginning, things go awry.

Among the hostages are Russian, Italian, and French diplomatic types. Swiss Red Cross negotiator Joachim Messner comes and goes, wrangling over terms and demands. Days stretch into weeks, the weeks into months. Joined by no common language except music, the 58 international hostages and their captors forge unexpected bonds. Time stands still, priorities rearrange themselves. Ultimately, of course, something has to give.


I don’t know how to adequately express how much I loved this book or why. It was so beautiful, and I connected with it so deeply. Continue reading “Review: Bel Canto”

Review: The Goldfinch

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

41zqDXuSQEL._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_Genre: Fiction
Maturity Level: 5
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Rating: ⋆⋆⋆⋆


It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a thirteen-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don’t know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

As an adult, Theo moves silkily between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty labyrinth of an antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love-and at the center of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.


5-stars for quality. 3-stars for personal enjoyment.

The Goldfinch is everything that people either love or hate about literary fiction. Gorgeous prose. Absolutely stunning. But so much of it. And the details! So many people compare The Goldfinch to Great Expectations (a comparison I think it’s safe to say Tartt was going for…), but it reminded me more of Moby Dick. If Melville had been writing about art and antique furniture rather than whaling… It was philosophical and gritty and stream-of-consciousness and everything that epitomizes 21st century literary fiction.

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