An account of the first Chechen war written by two journalists who were on the ground when it happened, interviewing the leaders and even spending time embedded amongst Chechen units, “Chechnya: Calamity in the Caucasus” is both a thorough overview and a riveting story of the first war. Although it is distinctly dated by being […]Read more "“Chechnya: Calamity in the Caucasus” by Carlotta Gall and Thomas de Waal"
Reading Politkovskaya is always a draining experience, and this, the last complete book of her writings and released after her death, is particularly challenging. It is organized in the form of a diary, with daily entries compiled of Politkovskaya’s notes, many of which later became articles–it includes, for example, the infamous interview with Ramzan Kadyrov, […]Read more "“A Russian Diary” by Anna Politkovskaya"
“The Woman Who Breathed Two Worlds” followed the life of Chye Hoon, a strong-willed Nyonya girl who becomes the matriarch of her mixed-heritage family in early 20th-century Malaysia. “When the Future Comes Too Soon” picks up shortly after where “The Woman Who Breathed Two Worlds” left off, with the death of Chye Hoon. Now the […]Read more "“When the Future Comes Too Soon” by Selina Siak Chin Yoke"
An enormous Jane fan, I simply couldn’t let the 200th anniversary of her death pass unnoticed. It’s a melancholy date, especially since she was taken from us so young, when she may have just been coming into her true powers as a novelist, but we can be grateful to have at least gotten the six […]Read more "Jane Austen, on the Bicentennial of her Death"
Ursula K. Le Guin has moved from the fringes of sci fi to the mainstream of literary fiction, finally garnering the respect that she deserves. This collection of essays and reviews, while in places repetitive, gives the reader some of the nuts-and-bolts of Le Guin’s thinking, and is beautifully written and often breathtakingly insightful. It […]Read more "“Words Are My Matter” by Ursula K. Le Guin"
I read many of Kelly Baker’s essays about her transition away from academia on Vitae when they first came out, so of course I had to read them all when they were published as a collection. In “Grace Period,” Baker chronicles her–frequently bitter, angry, and desperate–transition out of academia to the alt-ac world. It’s hard […]Read more "“Grace Period” by Kelly J. Baker"
In “Muse,” the seventh son of a seventh son discovers his ability to make his stories come true just a little too late, when the malevolent muse he has created in his head steps out of his head and into real life, where she soon begins wreaking havoc. Meanwhile, a young woman destined to be […]Read more "“Muse (Tales of the Silver Downs, #1)” by Kylie Quillinan"