Book Reviews for Writers

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The book reviews on this site bring together my love of literature, political science background, and experience living abroad in an attempt to understand the world. As a novelist, I also write about what these writers teach me about craft and how they influence my writing.

Africa

Asia

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Reading Heat and Dust in the Dusty Heat of India

One of the things I was most afraid of in coming to India was replicating the colonial experience. This frightened me because I despise the exploitation of other peoples and cultures and I thought with my oh-so-white skin and complete lack of skill with local languages and norms that I could not avoid being seen […]

Latin America

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The Narrative of Genius in Chef’s Table on Netflix

I started watching Chef’s Table because of the “cover” art—a beautifully constructed and impossibly tiny dish of food. Like many Americans, I’ve become enraptured in our recent conception of food as art and this show seemed like the culmination (or at least a new level) of that art. What I didn’t realize is how much […]

US & Canada

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Spiraling through The Incredible Sestina Anthology

I have a confession to make. I’m only halfway through The Incredible Sestina Anthology so I really shouldn’t be reviewing it here yet, but my brain is so wrapped up in the book and the form that I wanted to share my feelings about it now both so I don’t lose the threads of what’s […]

Arabia

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Finding Nouf and Peeking Inside the Walls of a Closed Society

If it wasn’t for the semi-annual book swap I attend, I never would have read Finding Nouf by Zoë Ferraris. But someone in that group of fabulously well-traveled and intelligent ladies had read this book and wanted to share it. She’d wrapped it up like a gift and put it in with the other books […]

Eastern Europe

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Suspended Inside The Appointment by Herta Müller

When I woke this morning, I didn’t want to pick up The Appointment by Herta Müller even though I only had a few pages left to read. I successfully avoided the book all day yesterday, too. But not for the reasons you might think. I set the book aside because it was so good, so […]

South Pacific

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The Legacy of Family and I Married Adventure by Osa Johnson

When I pulled I Married Adventure with its rough, zebra-printed cover from my rapidly-thinning to-read shelf this week, I did it because I remember my dad loving the book. I remember how he’d buy copies and sell them along with his other Africana at gun shows. I remembered entering and re-entering that book into his […]

Western Europe

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Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Unconsoled and the Nouveau Roman

I started reading The Unconsoled by Kazuo Ishiguro because it’s one of those really thick hardbacks that’s been sitting on my to-read shelf forever, I love Ishiguro, and I’m trying to read through that shelf in the five months before this room becomes a nursery and all the books have to be moved to their […]