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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Best Pregnancy Books for Writers

Pregnancy is a time full of joy and wonder. It’s also full of terror and anxiety. If you’re a writer, add to all that the fear that you may never write again. So many famous women writers chose never to have children and I worried I couldn’t balance my all-consuming creative self with creating a […]

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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Creating and Sustaining Empathy in Alphabet by Kathy Page

Picking up Alphabet by Kathy Page, I had no idea what to expect. I hadn’t read the back or the press release that accompanied my review copy. For all I knew, it was some experimental work based entirely on word play. It wasn’t, the narrative and language are much more conventional than that, but I’m […]