Kathy's Book Reviews

Drinking Coffee Elsewhere By ZZ Packer Cover Image
Reviewed by: Kathy
Posted: January 26, 2024

A smart, funny, sharp, sometimes angry, collection about coming of age, race and the continual recalibration of identity. ZZ Packer's voice is alive, original, and restrained -- no need to tie up threads that are best left messy.

 

Safe and Sound: A Renter-Friendly Guide to Home Repair By Mercury Stardust Cover Image
Reviewed by: Kathy
Posted: September 29, 2023

Someone in your life needs this book -- maybe even you!

Great for renters and homeowners alike. Score an early holiday shopping win.

The Vanishing Act Of Esme Lennox: A Novel By Maggie O'Farrell Cover Image
Reviewed by: Kathy
Posted: May 30, 2023

A hornet's nest of family secrets, Gothic horror with a blanket thrown over it, the institutionalization of women who would not or could not confirm, and a dramatic ending. Page-turning suspense from the author of Hamnet and The Marriage Portrait.

I Am a Girl from Africa: A Memoir of Empowerment, Community, and Hope By Elizabeth Nyamayaro Cover Image
Reviewed by: Kathy
Posted: April 1, 2023

If you ever doubt that one person can make a difference, Elizabeth Nyamayaro is your answer. A child alone, starving and unconscious near her village home in Zimbabwe, she was saved by a UN worker. She swore to herself at that moment that she would eventually work for the UN to help others the way that she had been helped. She achieved all that and more. 

Banyan Moon: A Novel By Thao Thai Cover Image
Reviewed by: Kathy
Posted: March 29, 2023

Beautifully told cross-generational saga of the Tran family -- daughter, mother and grandmother -- set in the US and Vietnam. The novel opens with the death of Minh, revered and fearless matriarch. Secrets are revealed from all corners when her death brings Huong and Ann, estranged daughter and granddaughter, back together to sort through her things, and decide what, on every level, is worth keeping. 

Poems to See by: A Comic Artist Interprets Great Poetry By Julian Peters Cover Image
Reviewed by: Kathy
Posted: March 26, 2023

An anthology of favorite poems, including Emily Dickinson, Langston Hughes, Carl Sandburg, Maya Angelou, Seamus Heaney and many others, each illustrated, in vastly different styles, by comics artist and illustrator Julian Peters. This beautiful collection is targeted toward young adults but can be loved by anyone.

Untethered Sky By Fonda Lee Cover Image
Reviewed by: Kathy
Posted: March 26, 2023

What a perfect fantasy novella! Great setting and world building and a strong central character, all deftly created in a handful of pages. I hope Fonda Lee has more of these on the way. I would have started the next as soon as I put Untethered Sky down.

Love and Justice: A Journey of Empowerment, Activism, and Embracing Black Beauty By Laetitia Ky Cover Image
Reviewed by: Kathy
Posted: February 16, 2023

Art, politics, hair.

Just pick up this book and look at it.

Staff Pick Badge
I Will Die in a Foreign Land By Kalani Pickhart Cover Image
Reviewed by: Kathy
Posted: February 2, 2023

A captivating, at times heartbreaking and poetic, novel set during the Euromaidan demonstrations in Ukraine 2013-2014. We follow four characters whose paths cross in the heat of the protests, one of whom, Katya, is a Ukraine-born but Boston-raised physician. This ambitious novel offers not only a ground-level view of Kyiv in the years that shaped the current political situation, but is also structurally innovative and a compelling read.

Brotherless Night: A Novel By V. V. Ganeshananthan Cover Image
Reviewed by: Kathy
Posted: January 31, 2023

V.V. Ganeshananthan's latest offers a window into the Sri Lankan Civil War, told through the fates of a Tamil family. A moving story, powerfully written. I loved this novel. 

How to Turn Into a Bird By María José Ferrada, Elizabeth Bryer (Translated by) Cover Image
Reviewed by: Kathy
Posted: January 31, 2023

A beautiful little novel. Ramon, the uncle our 12 year old narrator Miguel, our 12 year, upends the neighborhood (the universe?) when he takes a job caring for a rooftop billboard--and then decides to live there.

The Faraway World: Stories By Patricia Engel Cover Image
Reviewed by: Kathy
Posted: January 31, 2023

Great collection -- disorienting in a way that left me open to the complexity and heart of each of these stories. Highly recommend.

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