Superior Reads

A PLACE FOR READERS AND WRITERS

BROTHERLESS NIGHTS is an engrossing and heartrending read, and Sashi is a heroine for the ages. Ganeshananthan writes brilliantly about a complex subject, casting a spotlight on the forgotten heroes and victims of war.

Transracial adoption is never tidy, and cannot be encapsulated in an individual story, but Gibney does a masterful job of helping the reader understand the complexities of identity and the machinations of the adoption industrial complex. A writer with courage and heart, Gibney lays bare her experience for the benefit of us all.

I first became aware of author Rachael Hanel when I read her memoir, We’ll be the Last Ones to Let You Down, Memoir of a Gravedigger’s Daughter. Her newest project, out this month from University of Minnesota Press is a biography of Camilla Hall – NOT THE CAMILLA WE KNEW, ONE WOMAN’S PATH FROM SMALL-TOWN …

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O’Farrell follows Agnes into the woods, into the field, and into the depths of her despair. Her writing is lyrical and layered, her characters are complex, and their relationships are complicated. There will be no easy passageway through this grief, and dear reader, you should be forewarned to have a tissue within reach, but you will be carried along by a mother’s love and a father’s remorse. “There will be no going back,” O’Farrell writes, “Time only runs in one direction.”

Dunbar’s writing is evocative and as lush as the forest. Structured in four segments: Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer, we watch Elsa flail and falter and then grow in strength and confidence as each season passes. THE NET BENEATH US is about the promises we make and keep – to ourselves and to others – and the profound work of grief – how it cleaves us in two and yet, we live, allowing the days and months and years that pass bind us back together, the two halves of a split trunk like the before times and the after times, joined in the middle by the heartwood.

WHEN WOMEN WERE DRAGONS is an evocative tale about gender, gender roles, and the politicization of history. Barnhill has written a cautionary tale about what happens when women are silenced and their human right to make their own choices is taken from them.

Reading SEVEN AUNTS, I was overwhelmed with gratitude for these women and the author’s commitment to truth telling. Drouillard writes with such integrity. I cared deeply about the aunties, and I didn’t want to leave them. Extraordinary women leading ordinary lives; they lived in a world that did not recognize their contributions, but the lessons of their lives changed the world for future generations.

Bonnie Garmus has created characters that mock convention. Elizabeth Zott defies authority, not on principal, but on practicality. She sees the world through safety goggles while her male counterparts just wish she’d put on the rose-colored glasses, form-fitting Donna-Reed dress, and sell the canned soup on Supper at Six. But everything in Elizabeth’s world boils down to science – including making her coffee at home with a Bunsen burner and turning her home kitchen into a lab. You’ll fall in love with her dog, Six-Thirty, one of the most astute and intelligent four-legged narrators in fiction today; Mad, her precocious daughter, who reads Nabokov at the age of five, and interrupts show and tell to ask her kindergarten teacher how she can join the Freedom Fighters in Nashville; and her friend and neighbor Harriet, whom after watching Elizabeth stand up to injustice, finds the courage to leave her alcoholic and abusive husband.