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


Clarice Lispector and A Breath of Life into Characters

The act of writing is one of expression as much as it is an act of creation. An author finds something within him- or herself that feels worthy of saying or investigating and then spends hours, months, years delving into and perfecting that expression. At the end readers like to think we see the author […]

US & Canada



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


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


The Art of Voice in Keri Hulme’s The Bone People

I admit I probably picked upThe Bone People by Keri Hulme because I was looking to flesh out my South Pacific section. It won the Man Booker Prize back when it was still called the Booker Prize and I was intrigued by the description. But late in the night when I dusted this book off […]

Western Europe


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 […]