Category: Book Reviews

Book Reviews

A review of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne

Set in Nazi Germany during World War II, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas takes the reader on a journey through the eyes of a young, ignorant boy. This story filled me with sadness, but also made me laugh out loud. I would recommend this book for both boys and girls aged 12 to 15 years of age.

A review of A Kinder Sea by Felicity Plunkett

Though these are personal poems, rooted in love, loss, grief, and rebirth, there is a strong, though subtle underlying politic which takes the form of advocacy. Collective empowerment is an important theme throughout the work, linking back to the title–kindness as a radical act.

An interview with John Fitch and Max Frenzel

The authors of Time Out talk about their book and the backstories behind it, society’s view of “noble leisure” time, the culture (or cult) of “busyness” and how it can be unlearned, macro and micro practices for quality time off, the importance of solitude, and lots more.

A review of Vault by Alice Jones

This collection is a word feast to be read over days, not in one sitting, and these poems by Alice Jones deserve to be savored. Despite frequent medical and historical multisyllabic vocabulary, many of the poems regard common social phenomena. Readers will appreciate each word as they feel the momentum of stylistic and linguistic rhythms within and between sentences.

A review of The Albatross Around the Neck of Albert Ross by Geoffrey Gatza

Gatza’s collection of short stories highlight important ideas such as connecting with family members, living the fullest life, challenging how to think beyond the obvious, and learning how to handle grief. Each of these lessons are truly important for both children and adults alike. What connects each of these stories, however, is the ability to experience each day with someone that readers care about whether that be a family member, a parent, a friend, or a sibling.

A review of The Alpaca Cantos by Jenny Blackford

Even at its most intense, Blackford’s poetry never stops being warm, accessible and humorous. The Alpaca Cantos is beautifully presented with thick paper, careful layouts, with lovely drawings by artist Gwynneth Jones. These are poems that are both complex and simple, tragic and yet infused with delight and an almost impish joy in the day-to-day.

A review of Flourish by Dora Malech

As in Bishop’s works, Malech seems to present some of her poems in utter simplicity, then surprises with the unexpected turn at the end. “Dear Reader” (p. 67) does this quite successfully. Some of the poems appear enigmatic, but when studied, reveal a coherent whimsy. “Come Again” (p.55) plays on the comedy of typos and “Euscorpius italicus” ( p.37) on the fear of spiders, both done with commendable control.

An interview with R.W.R McDonald

The author of The Nancys talks about his lifelong passion for Nancy Drew, his inspirations, working with top-notch editors, his novel writing workshop at Faber, world building, and lots more.

A review of Tricks of Light by Thaddeus Rutkowski

Rutkowski ruminates on so many of the little things that usually escape notice. Three poems are devoted to a pet turtle. Imagine that, a turtle, the very definition of a slow-moving, boring thing. Yet in poems like “Turtle’s Cold Day,” we see Rutkowski actually worrying about the animal because of subtle anomalies in her behavior. In “Head Scratching” he observes that he knows why she stretches her legs – “to cool off.” But he’s puzzled by the reason behind her scratching her head. Could it be a mosquito?

A review of Figuring by Maria Popova

Emily Dickinson, in particular, comes across with such a delicacy and radiance that we begin to understand and sympathise with the odd recluse whose great love lasts a lifetime, and whose poetic work has not only been the beginnings of the modernist movement in poetry, but also an ongoing inspiration.