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Posts from the ‘Sensible Shoes: Book Reviews’ Category

The Lowland, by Jhumpa Lahiri

All of Jhumpa Lahiri’s fiction deals with the immigrant experience, from India to (most often) the northeastern United States, and The Lowland is no exception. This time, though, the reader gets a lesson in Indian history along with a compelling family story. Read more

A Tale for the Time Being, by Ruth Ozeki

Having never read Ruth Ozeki, I approached this novel with some trepidation. It sounded like a real yard sale of elements: a teenage girl’s diary (possibly authored by a victim of the Fukushima disaster), Zen monks, time travel, schoolgirl fetishists, kamikaze pilots, quantum physics,… Read more

Chimp Lit

We need a new genre: Chimp Literary Fiction. (For a note on this photo, please see the link below from Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest.) Read more

The Glass Castle, by Jeannette Walls

If there’s any truth to the new age saying that we choose our own parents, Jeannette Walls must love a challenge. Read more

Hearts as Idiots: Two Versions

I’ve just finished two very different books, but realized that they had a common thread after all: the places you end up by listening to your heart (or possibly your ego, libido, or a combination of all the above). The books are Davy Rothbart’s My Heart is an Idiot: Essays and Kathy Ebel’s Claudia Silver to the Rescue. Read more

This Beautiful Life, by Helen Schulman

This novel answers the question “how far can an inappropriately shared video go on the internet?” Take a group of teenagers partying in a house with absent parents, add alcohol, a spurned 8th grade girl, and a smart phone, and you’ll quickly find out. Read more

The Interestings, by Meg Wolitzer

For me, this novel was a perfect summer read, and not because it was a lightweight piece of fluff, either. It starts in an summer arts camp in the Berkshires in the mid-1970s. This is a classier camp than I ever went to, full of privileged, talented high school students. While my music and church camp experiences were more low-rent, there’s something about the experience of being thrown into communal, semi-outdoor living with a bunch of strangers at that age that’s universally traumatic and memorable. I could almost smell the musty, reindeer-flannel-lined sleeping bags. Read more