Archive for January, 2013

Disclosure: The author is a friend of mine. I’d considered not reviewing the book, due to my obvious bias, but here’s the thing: I’ve also studied literature for about ten years, and been a librarian for ten more, so I think I can give you a working guide to this book without descending (too far) into […]


Title: How Should A Person Be? Author: Sheila Heti Genre: Literary Publisher: Henry Holt Length: 306 pages Library: Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh–East Liberty Challenge: Peek-A-Book 2013 Women Challenge Summary: An author struggles to finish her play and figure out what her role is in the grand scheme of things, much to the amusement and chagrin of her friends. […]


Title: American Gypsy Author: Oksana Marafioti Genre: Non-fiction / Memoir Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux Length: 368 pages Library: South Park Township Library Challenge: Library Books Reading Challenge 2013 Summary: A Romani teen and her family emigrate to the United States, but never really leave the Soviet Union behind. Analysis “Gypsy” is a charged word, filled with connotations, associations, and […]


Later this spring I’ll be walking a half-marathon to celebrate entering the “Whee! Ain’t give a damn!” decade of my life, a/k/a the 40s. As a result, I’ve spent a great deal of time over the past six months reading everything I can get my hands on in the way of training materials. This is the […]


Well. I was merrily reading away, halfway through a Very Serious–but still useful–scholarly book on Buddhism. And then I got sick, and I couldn’t read. I could barely sit up straight. It was awful. I haven’t been that sick in years, and I certainly wouldn’t want a repeat anytime soon. I usually avoid the flu shot, […]


Title: The Chicken Chronicles Author: Alice Walker Genre: Essay/Memoir Publisher: The New Press Length: 186 pages Library: Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh–Squirrel Hill Challenge: Books and Movies 2013 Essay Challenge Summary: A veteran author muses about life, the universe, and everything, using her chicken-raising project as the jumping-off point. Analysis: This short, meditative collection, which grew out of the author’s blog, […]


Title: Arcadia Author: Lauren Groff Genre: Literary Publisher: Voice/Hyperion Length: 289 pages Library: Monroeville Public Library Challenge: Peek-a-Book 2013 Women Challenge Summary: The rise, fall, and aftermath of life in a utopian commune, as seen through the eyes of a boy who was born and raised there. Analysis Quietly intense and powerful, Arcadia captures the hope and magic that drive people to seek a […]