Archive for March, 2014

Ernessa T. Carter’s first novel, 32 Candles, gives the 80s teen movie trope a twist by making the heroine’s struggles sharper and more real than anything Molly Ringwald ever had to deal with. The only bright spot in teenage Davie’s life are Molly’s movies, but even they can’t blunt the terrible consequences of living with a […]


We return to this year’s challenge lists with a 19th-century novel that is one of the first works of fiction by an African American woman. Francis Ellen Watkins Harper wrote Iola Leroy, or, Shadows Uplifted when she was 67, after a long and productive life filled with activism and other writing. She was a little […]


Temporarily turning from my challenge lists to my reading notebook, I find myself contemplating Jeanette Winterson’s short novella, The Daylight Gate. Based on actual historical events, the book packs a hefty wallop into a relatively short number of pages, and makes the reader want to know more about the Lancashire witch trials. England in the […]


Audre Lorde. Just writing those two words, the name of a woman whose vision inspired so many, makes the hands feel heavy. What words can you type that do justice to the gifts Lorde gave the world? Sister Outsider, a sampler of Lorde’s essays and speeches, makes a great point of entry to her feminist […]


Normally my reading is regulated by the very long list (multiple notebooks) of  books I want to read. Once in a great while, however, there’s an open slot on my library card that allows me to wander through the stacks and choose something interesting at random. I discovered the work of Sor Juana Inés de la […]


I’ve got a longer review of something in the drafts folder, but once again due dates force me to give only highlights of some of the great books I’m reading. Here are two short summaries of two very different, but equally excellent, kinds of books. Kansas City Lightning, Stanley Crouch. Kansas City was one of […]


Two luminous collections of poetry are due back at the library today, so here are a few summaries to whet your appetite and, hopefully, trigger either a purchase or an ILL request. Supplying Salt and Light, Lorna Goodison. You get the sense, diving into this collection, that you’ve entered a powerful story in medias res, […]