Skip to main content

Posts

Review: Everything I never told you by Celeste Ng

“Everything here reminds her of what Lydia could have been.”   Lydia, a high school student has died and her mother drifts into her room to experience the smells and sensations of the girl who used to inhabit the space. Across town, Lydia’s father has dropped into another woman’s bed and sleeps tranquilly. Nothing in life has happened as it should. Love gets lost in withheld touches and unspoken thoughts. Parents’ expectations are driven into successive generations and serve as baggage rather than inspiration. Words hurt: “ this,”  referring to Lydia’s parent’s marriage, “isn’t right.” Words are avoided: mixed, interracial, mismatched. Words that could reassure lay stagnant and not vocalized. Words are smithed to cope: “disappeared, fell in the lake, drowned.” The family’s search to understand the daughter who died, their search for a killer to pin their grief on, the destruction of trust, and the slow melting away of relationships show a family on the brink. The sprint to finish this

Review: Bride of the Sea by Eman Quotah

“And the word  divorce  is whispering in his ear, a secret no when else knows.” Muneer, a 23-year-old journalism student from Saudi Arabia attending university in the United States, is considering divorcing his 19-year-old wife, also from Saudi Arabia, who is pregnant and about to give birth. He has this thought when she is shoveling snow without a jacket, scarf, or gloves. She seems to like the cold. Before the baby is born, she strips down to her underwear and walks into a lake in winter. Is this a suicide attempt? It’s hard to grasp that concept –a young woman so unhappy she walks into a lake pregnant, a couple who doesn’t share, has no team goal, with divorce thoughts shortly before their child is born. The couple divorces. The wife, Saeedah, or Sadie as she is later known, flees with their daughter and spends the next seventeen years hiding from Muneer, his family, and her family. How is this life of hiding, that Sadie has taken her daughter Hannah on, different from a culture th

Review: The Fist Day of Spring by Nancy Tucker

"I killed a little boy today." reads the first sentence of Nancy Tucker's women's fiction The First Day of Spring, and thus unfolds the story of a girl who can't cope with a life where she is uncared for, unfed physically and mentally, and who battles an undeveloped brain that has yet to understand that dead means dead. Chillingly unaffected by her killing crime, she hungers to live a child's life where parents adore you, sing songs to you, and provide sustenance.  She's enough self aware to understands what she has done must be kept secret, taunts others with her insider knowledge, knows which adults don't like her, and lingers on the outskirts of life, hanging on to her best friend Linda who is probably the only person who likes her. How she's caught is revealed near the end of the novel, but before that is understood, the reader learns she is sentenced to a home for criminal youth, which she eventually loathes leaving – it has electricity, regu

Independent Bookstore Day, Saturday, April 24

Saturday, April 24, is Independent Bookstore Day. We’re lucky to have numerous indie bookstores in the Portland area – this year The Oregonian|OregonLive.com visited 16 independent bookstores in the Portland suburbs, from Gresham to Hillsboro to Oregon City to McMinnville. To learn about what makes each of them tick. Look for the OregonLive guide to suburban Portland bookstores at  oregonlive.com/books .   Content source: OregonLive.com Photo:  Ashley Byrd on Unsplash You may also enjoy,  How I got here and why it matters by Carol Doane .

What DO people do with books?

Book sales went up by 8% in 2020. Guess we were cooped up in the house enough to drive us to read, and stir crazy enough to drive MORE of us to read, or as a recent study says, “engage” with books. An article on OregonLive.com highlighted the 2020 survey done by Portland State University that challenged our assumptions about who uses books and how books are used. Noting that, “Data just about reading ignores a large portion of the things people do with books.” What DO people do with books? The Immersive Media & Books Study surveyed 4,314 people who had “engaged with” at least one book during 2020, and provides new insight on what people do with books. The study defines “engage” as buying, borrowing, reading, giving or subscribing to all or part of a physical, digital or audio book. That's a pretty broad definition, but it certainly covers the territory. The conclusions of the study were as most would assume and, in some instances, a surprise. Books are more than entertainment.