A review of Faulkner and Friends by Vicki Salloum

Like Faulkner, Salloum writes impressionistically and uses stream-of-consciousness narration, demanding that the reader do some work to put together the strands of the characters’ stories. While his main themes are race, and the Southern heritage while hers is poverty. In some respects, Salloum’s novel resembles John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row in its celebration of people on society’s fringes.

A review of One Plus One by Jojo Moyes

Moyes’s novel reminded me of The Middle Ground, a 1980 work of fiction by Margaret Drabble, which centres upon a single mother and shows the disparity between the comfortable classes and the struggling ones. Moyes’s plot is also akin to that of Jane Eyre, in centring on an intelligent woman with a strong sense of fairness, who meets a rich man. Like Mr. Rochester, Ed must be humbled by misfortune before he can fully appreciate Jess – though there is no madwoman in the attic and no fire in One Plus One.

A Conversation with Elizabeth Gilbert

The author of The Signature of All Things talks about her return to the novel, about shifting genre gears, about the impact of popularity and notions of success, the book’s epigraph, on achieving authenticity, her characters, on the spiritual aspects of her book, and lots more.

A review of Lost & Found by Brooke Davis

Millie’s plight alone should have had me in tears by page two, but Davis has drawn this character so skilfully that at no point did I pity her. Yes, I wanted to give her mother a slap for leaving her daughter in a shopping centre—but at the same time I understood why she did what she did. And that is the magic of this story: Everyone who has ever been torn asunder by loss will relate to these broken people.

A review of Active Literacy Across the Curriculum by Heidi Hayes Jacobs

As a classroom teacher I read with interest that Hayes notes the fulfilment of that need is complicated by learning standards established at the state level that are written as if all children are confident in standard English usage. Hayes states what teachers have known for years; every standardized test, whether a state or national instrument is principally a reading test. If the test taker is not a skilled reader, with a broad vocabulary filled with standard English words, then the test taker is going to face problems with the language used in the test; including words like determine, summarize, select and more.

A review of Mr Ballpoint by Gerald Everett Jones

Milton is larger than life and Jones seamlessly incorporates an historical perspective that includes World War Two and the Cold War, the operations behind the scenes at big department stores like Gimbels and Macy’s, Milton’s round the world twin-engine propeller flight that broke Howard Hughes’ record. In addition, Milton and Jim’s difficult relationship, coupled with both Milton’s marriage and Jim’s marriage to Zelta, mingles the domestic with the historical perfectly.