Based on the hype around this novel, I had fairly high expectations. However, I don’t feel that those expectations were met. I was unprepared for the heaviness of the novel, with topics of toxic relationships, abuse, and mental health; and felt that the novel took an unhealthy side of these topics, rather than creating beneficial conversation around them. Personally, this book was not my cup of tea and I would recommend reading a few reviews before diving into it.
Availability: COSMOS, USMAI Review Submitted by: Sarah Gleason Rating: Recommended with reservations Challenge: Book made into TV show
I picked up this book, not knowing what to expect, and was pleasantly surprised. Vivek Shraya takes the reader on a very short and concise journey of a queer individual finding their way, while using Hindu Mythology to guide the story. I enjoyed the brief education on mythology and queer theory and would recommend to anyone searching for a brief read.
Availability: COSMOS, Review Submitted by: Sarah Gleason Rating: Recommended
Set during the events before and after the Trojan War, TSOA is about the love story of Patroclus and Achilles, and their tragic ending. It is incredibly written in a way that makes you feel for the characters, and it will definitely make you want to keep reading. This book is perfect for Greek mythology and Ancient Greece fans, as well as those who want to read books with LGBT romances and don’t mind endings that will make you cry.
Young Irish Eilis can’t find suitable work in her small town, so her vivacious sister and a priest friend arrange her travel to Brooklyn, work there in a department store, and lodging in a boarding house. As she slowly finds her way, Eilis must make many difficult and life changing decisions. I watched the movie, then ironically found the book two days later in a mini free library while biking on Kent Island. The movie is nice, but the book was a delightful beach read.
Availability: COSMOS, SMCM, USMAI Review Submitted by: Maggie D. Brace ’82 Rating: Highly Recommended Challenge: Book to film
The Vanishing Half is a multi-generational story about two twin sisters who, after leaving their small town for greener pastures, diverge on widely different paths. One decides to use her lighter skin to pass for white, while the other marries and has a dark skinned child. The story is told out of order, and has many time jumps, however this happens in chunks (rather than every chapter), so the narrative is still easy to follow. Be warned, this book has racism, colorism and abuse, so if you are looking for a lighthearted read this is not for you.
Availability: COSMOS, USMAI, SMCM Review Submitted by: Jo Hoppe Rating: Must Read Challenge: Tournament of Books
Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell is a must read book. I enjoyed every aspect of it. Shakespeare’s wife is depicted in a magical way rather than the usual harpy, and the tragic death of their only son due to the plague is delved into in great detail. Their early romance is fleshed out, as is their unique responses to Hamnet‘s death. There is a dream like quality that pervades this tale that captured me and I was craving more when the story ended.
Availability: COSMOS USMAI Review Submitted by: Maggie D. Brace ’82. Rating: Must Read
The Birds is a horror story by the British writer Daphne du Maurier, first published in 1952. It is the story of a farmhand, his family, and his community that are attacked by flocks of birds. Unlike the movie interpretation by Hitchcock, the main character is aware of the danger he and his family are in and prepares his house accordingly. I enjoyed this book very much.
Availability: USMAI Review Submitted by: Maggie D. Brace ’82. Rating: Recommended Challenge: Book to film