book review Archive

How a Woman Modernized China: A Review of Empress Dowager Cixi

Pearl Buck once observed that those who hated the Empress Dowager Cixi were “more articulate than those who loved her.” Jung Chang’s recent biography, Empress Dowager Cixi: The Concubine Who Launched Modern China, argues that Cixi has long been misunderstood, and her monumental reforms falsely credited to the men who served her or ruled

Book Review: Claire of the Sea Light

Claire Limye Lanme is all her father has. After her mother died giving birth to her, her fisherman father, Nozias, raised her in a tiny shack near the sea in Ville Rose, Haiti. Every year on her birthday, they go together to visit her mother’s grave. And every year, Nozias worries about how his

Book Review: Cinnamon and Gunpowder

Cinnamon and Gunpowder by Eli Brown FSG, 2013 318  pages (hardcover) Source: Own Available IndieBound Amazon Powell’s Owen Wedgewood, chef to Lord Ramsey, spends his waking hours perfecting sauce recipes and testing the temperature of his ovens. Until the day pirates burst into the dining room right after the soup course, topple the platters

Book Review: The World’s Strongest Librarian

The World’s Strongest Librarian: A Memoir of Tourette’s, Faith, Strength, and the Power of Family by Josh Hanagarne Gotham Books, 2013 291 pages (hardcover) Available IndieBound Amazon Powell’s “There’s nothing relevant about this place,” declares librarian Josh Hanagarne of the Salt Lake City Public Library. “It’s so much more. A community that doesn’t think

Book Review: Lebanese Blonde

Kaan makaan. The “Arabic Once upon a time”: perhaps this happened, perhaps it didn’t. That’s how the uncles in Joseph Geha’s novel tell their coming-to-America stories.

Book Review: The Round House

The Round House by Louise Erdrich Harper, 2012 321 pages (hardcover) Available: IndieBound Amazon Powells Joe, the thirteen-year-old narrator of The Round House, is like any boy. He can ride his bike for hours, sneaks a beer in the woods with his buddies, wants to impress his dad, finds his grandpa’s stories alternately fascinating

Book Review: The Twelve Rooms of the Nile

The Twelve Rooms of the Nile by Enid Shomer Simon & Schuster, 2012 449 pages (hardcover) Available Amazon Powells IndieBound Gustave Flaubert and Florence Nightingale both toured the Nile in 1850. No evidence suggests that they met during their excursions, but in The Twelve Rooms of the Nile, Enid Shomer imagines that they did.

Book Review: The Lighthouse Road

The Lighthouse Road by Peter Geye Unbridled, 2012 280 pages (Kindle) Available Amazon Powell’s Towering pines. Cresting swells. Ravenous men and wolves. Logging teams working the ice road and whiskey runners avoiding the shipping channel. This desperate wilderness becomes the backdrop to a biography of the immigrant experience in Peter Geye’s new novel, The
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