When teaching a survey class of Russian literature, one of the more vexing questions is which text to pick. You want to give students an idea of the breadth and richness of Russian literature, but not overwhelm them with impossible page counts. Of course they SHOULD read “And Quiet Flows the Don,” “Life and Fate,” […]Read more "“50 Writers: An Anthology of 20th-Century Russian Short Stories”"
It’s 1989, and Matt Garrison is getting ready to graduate high school and leave for college like any other 18-year-old. Except that he isn’t your typical 18-year-old: he’s still haunted six years later by the drowning death of his cousin. And then one night he finds himself in the bed of his best friend’s mother […]Read more "“Redemption Lake” by Susan Clayton-Goldner"
In “Wolf Hunt,” the threads of village passions come together as a group sets off on a wolf hunt that serves as a pretext for something even more murderous. Living side-by-side for decades, right through the upheavals of WWII and forced collectivization, has inflamed resentments rather than drawing people together, leading to a violent denouement. […]Read more "“Wolf Hunt” by Ivailo Petrov"
“The Blended Ones” is a high fantasy novel in some ways very reminiscent of the Shannara books. There are the Four Worlds and the Four People Groups, and adolescent siblings who have to go off on a magical quest to save the world. In this case, though, it’s two sisters, Phyllis and Ilieus, who are […]Read more "“The Blended Ones” by Angela J. Ford"
Why is Amy Tan’s writing so great? Tan is one of my very favorite contemporary writers, and so this was a question I kept posing to myself as I read this collection of autobiographical essays on topics varying from Tan’s childhood to the time she was almost swept away in a flash flood while vacationing […]Read more "“The Opposite of Fate” by Amy Tan"
Kari’s just your typical teenage girl, dreaming of boys and being like Rita Hayworth…except that her country is currently occupied by Nazi Germany. When an American pilot crash-lands near her father’s farm, she sets off on a desperate adventure to smuggle him to Sweden. I always have my eye open for some good Nordic reading, […]Read more "“Land of Hidden Fires” by Kirk Kjeldsen"
***Okay, I need to start out with a disclaimer! As a representative of higher education, my official position is that I do NOT approve of any of the action in this book! End of disclaimer*** Ian Walker is a black gay science and math nerd who has two problems sullying his undergraduate idyll: He and […]Read more "“Slime Pop! Saga” by CB Archer"