If you're looking to read a mind blowing work of literature, track Juan down. He knows his stuff.
JUNE 2022I liken reading Murakami short stories to eating dessert. You know it will be brief, sweet, sometimes a little funny with a tart edge, but it almost always ends too quickly.At times it's unclear whether or not these essays are autobiographical but one thing that is certain is that Murakami loves jazz and distance running, as he writes about both and it is a pleasure to read about both, especially from him.
In the late 19th century there was a grizzly murder on Old Mission Peninsula. At the time it turned the lesser known small farming community upside down, placing one particular townie on the hot seat as the prime suspect.
While writing the book, Stephen Lewis, a professor emeritus of English, spent countless hours in erudition through the records of this nasty murder only to give the plot a healthy twist of fiction.
JANUARY 2022We all read for various reasons. sometimes for information, other times just to pass the time, but I feel like most often I look to books for a sense of escapism.This novel succeeds in doing just that in a beautiful and natural way. Our protagonist, Piranisi, is mysteriously cast into a gallery-like environment of large halls, some of enormous proportions with varieties of statues to match in stature. As the book unfolds we discover alongside as he seeks the true nature of his situation.The setting is unforgettable and the adventures through this amazing and disorienting world are vivid but above all, Piranesi is rich in humanity and our search for meaning.
OCTOBER 2021Ever since I can remember, mythology has influenced my life, both in my reading history and as a child. It was a compass for initially recognizing the arc of a story. However, it wasn't until I read Joseph Campbell during college that I began to understand the presence of a hero's journey motif speckled throughout our society.Around the same time I read Jung's Man and His Symbols and I feel that Campbell and Jung's books are essentially rubrics for human understanding by the analysis of collections of recurring stories throughout time. Campbell unpacks with warmth the underlying utilitarian purpose for some of the most popular stories in mythology and the hope of a careful grandfather handing down an oral heirloom.
SEPTEMBER 2021Bolano writes visceral poetry, and his prose tends to be just as self-revealing, while also drawing on cryptic associations ranging from all subjects but mostly drawing on European history and South American first nations history.Novellas are definitely his strongest suit. The reader can fully appreciate his mastery in creating a story with brevity, fully developed characters that singe slowly into the readers subconscious all the while maintaining the same fervor in which he punches through poetry.I have read at least eight of his novellas and they all have something to offer in different ways. Cowboy Graves is no different.
Hear My Voice was easily the most heartbreaking children's non-fiction I’ve ever read. It depicts the bleak stories of children detained at the U.S./Mexican border during the years 2017 and 2019.
This book is illustrated through the collaboration of over a dozen Mexican artists and counterpoints the narrative sewn together by publicly available court documents taken from child detention cases. Hear my voice is cleverly split off into an English and Spanish version with the same binding. Although the cases are deeply bitter the stories are soulful and poignant. Above all, this powerful and beautiful book is a useful way to introduce young readers to the complicated and sensitive matter that detainment camps are a reality for human children in the year 2021.
I was immediately drawn to this book by a colleague and with good reason; I'm a sucker for illustrated reinventions of fauna in children's books. But even apart from the quirky, beautifully hand-painted illustrations, the story manages to steal the show. The relationship between these two unlikely friends results in humorous moments but also highlights the nature and characteristics of our true friendships: The inability to live without each other despite differences or obstacles, or, as in our protagonist's case, sheer size.
A Japanese ghost narrates his existence as a wandering spirit through the parks and streets of Ueno, a neighborhood in Tokyo. A setting which the specter once inhabited as a homeless citizen decades earlier. Yu Miri's slim novel critiques the imperialist culture of Japan, as she exposes the lesser known culture of Japan, as she exposes the lesser known culture of Japan's homeless population post WW2 through this lyrically rich and moving story.