Posts Tagged 'edwidge danticat'

Book Review: The Brown Reader: 50 Writers Remember College Hill, ed. Judy Sternlight

Some readers may already know that I am a proud Brunonian. I went to Brown University for both my undergraduate and graduate degrees, and enjoyed my time there very much. (“So nice I went there twice!”) I dabbled in subjects I had never tried before, read lots of challenging books, made some lifelong friends, met the boyfriend I am still dating, wrote for the Brown Daily Herald, and just generally had all sorts of experiences that contributed to making me the person I am today!

For an added note of nostalgia, just a few weekends ago was Brown’s commencement ceremony and reunion, as well as the Campus Dance, a really pleasant tradition where alumni return to campus to enjoy bands playing out under the stars on the Main Green.

That’s why when I saw The Brown Reader: 50 Writers Remember College Hill up on Netgalley, in celebration of Brown University’s 250th anniversary, I knew I had to have it. Edited by Judy Sternlight, a 1982 Brown grad and long-time editor, the collection includes essays by such big-name Brown grads as Jeffrey Eugenides, Edwidge Danticat, Marilynne Robinson, and many more. It seems that Sternlight reached out to other Brown alumni in publishing to commission this impressive anthology; lucky for her, Brown has produced many writing-inclined folks!

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As with almost any anthology, the stories were uneven and differed widely in tone, making it challenging to review. Some, like Jeffrey Eugenides’ “Sun Under Cloud Cover,” were pointed and hilarious as they poked fun not just at Brown but at the other Ivy League schools. Others were serious reflections on what the writer gained and lost at Brown, including appreciations for new academic or artistic pursuits, like theater or medicine.

Continue reading ‘Book Review: The Brown Reader: 50 Writers Remember College Hill, ed. Judy Sternlight’

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten 2013 Debuts I’m Looking Forward To

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created to share lists with other bookish folks! For this week’s Top Ten Tuesday list, we were asked to list our top ten 2013 debuts to look forward to! I chose to interpret “debut” loosely, to include new books by already-established authors. I don’t know enough about debut authors to complete a list of them, unfortunately!

1. Life After Life, by Kate Atkinson
Advance praise for this novel has been high, and it was one of the only books that leapt out at me on io9’s preview of 2013 fantasy and sci-fi novels.

2.  The Shining Girls, by Lauren Beukes
It’s been described as The Time Traveler’s Wife meets The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo…how could I resist? Also, she wrote Zoo City, which has been on my TBR forever.

3. Nothing Gold Can Stay, by Ron Rash
I like fiction set in Appalachia, and Rash is supposedly one of the best there is. (He’s also a PEN/Faulkner Finalist, so he is definitely one of the best there is.) His latest book is a series of interlocking short stories, a format I tend to enjoy.

4. The Fall of Arthur, by J.R.R. Tolkien
Edited and annotated by his son Christopher, this is the last, great unfinished work of Tolkien’s. I would  read this no matter what the subject. Who could turn up their nose at a new, previously-unpublished work of Tolkien’s?

5. Red Moon, by Benjamin Percy
Ahhh, werewolves. They are easily my favorite paranormal creature, and have been for decades. (I’m 26; am I allowed to say “decades?”). In Percy’s novel, werewolves live among us, but are required to take a transformation-hindering drug. Neat!

6. Clare of the Sea-Light, by Edwidge Danticat
I’ve only read one or two novels by Danticat, but her use of language as a way to both reveal and scourge the power of memories is wonderful. I also really just like this title.

7. Dissident Gardens, by Jonathan Lethem
Haha, okay, I could write endlessly about this. But I’ll make it quick. I’ve read two books by Lethem and was unimpressed. However, this book is about the neighborhood in Queens, NY, where I currently reside and about which I feel very proprietary. For Lethem, someone who fairly screams Brooklyn, to write about Queens immediately makes my hackles rise; I love Queens for its history and its diversity and its gritty scrappiness, and it feels like an “outsider” is writing about it. So I will definitely read this, if only to protect and defend my fair borough.

8. NOS4A2, by Joe Hill
Hill, the son of Stephen King, has a talent all his own for suspense and horror. While I thought his previous effort Horns was just okay, Heart-Shaped Box was excellent. Here’s hoping this tale of kidnapping and and fantastical horror is, too!

9. The Intercept, by Dick Wolf
I don’t know that I will actually read this, but I had to include it! The novelty value of a book written by the creator of the Law & Order series is high.

10. I’ll leave this space open, for the books of 2013 I have yet to have heard of!


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