Author Archives: jz2nd

Rest of Us by Jessica Lott

My review in Shelf Awareness is here. The Boston Globe review also praised it, saying that, while the plot line was the stuff of chick lit, Lott has written  “a compelling, resonant, richly nuanced, and sometimes heartbreaking portrait of cross-generational love and … Continue reading

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Poetry: Letter Composed During a Lull in the Fighting and Jump Soul

This post covers two recent Shelf Awareness poetry reviews (April is poetry month, after all). The first is the debut collection Letter Composed During a Lull in the Fighting by Kevin Powers, author of the much-praised novel and National Book Award finalist … Continue reading

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Shelf Awareness for Readers Review: The Telling Room, by Michael Paterniti

My review for Michael Paterniti’s The Telling Room is posted here. It’s always good to look at other reactions:  The New York Times review, while positive, acknowleged its overwrough quality, comparing it to those little handwritten descriptions pinned to cheeses … Continue reading

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Shelf Awareness for Readers Review: The Rest of Us, by Jessica Lott

Here* is my Shelf Awareness for Readers review for Jessica Lott’s debut novel The Rest of Us Simon & Schuster, $24.99, hardcover, 9781451645873.  The advance reader’s copy came with blurbs from Elissa Schappell, Ha Jin and Adam Langer.  Many years in … Continue reading

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Shelf Awareness for Readers Review: Stay, Illusion! The Hamlet Doctrine by by Simon Critchley and Jamieson Webster

This review* for Shelf Awareness for Readers was challenging to write, both for the need to capture complex ideas in 250 words and for required refresher on the many interpretations of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. It is widely accepted that the core of … Continue reading

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Review: The Human Spark: The Science of Human Development, by Jerome Kagan

Here is my Shelf Awareness review for Jerome Kagan’s  The Human Spark: The Science of Human Development.  The relationship between nature and nurture has always fascinated me.  The idea that nurture confirms or mitigates or triggers what nature bestows is … Continue reading

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Shelf Awareness for Readers Review: Love Among the Particles: Stories, by Norman Lock

My review of Norman Lock‘s story collection Love Among the Particles (Bellevue Literary Press, $14.95, paperback, 9781934137642) was published in the current Shelf Awareness for Readers. I loved this collection.  Kirkus gave it a starred review, and it was an Atlantic Wire Spring Book … Continue reading

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Notes on reviewing Books: The Millions, The New Yorker, and Christian Wiman

Critic Michael Bourne in The Millions has an excellent piece on book reviewing, where he discusses how the digital age has changed their purpose and scope.  Typical reviews typically opened with a brief context-setting introduction;, followed by a thumbnail outline, … Continue reading

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Review: Gish Jen, Tiger Writing

Here and below is my review of Gish Jen”s Tiger Writing: Art, Culture and the Interdependent Self, published by Harvard University Press in March; it ran in today’s Shelf Awareness for Readers. Gish Jen’s elegant and wide-ranging Tiger Writing–a collection … Continue reading

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Writers and Writing: George Saunders does not tweet

Nor does he own a Kindle.  He lugged Infinite Jest along when he travelled to Asia, preferring the pleasure of carrying an actual “book.” He does not spend leisure time browsing online; it cuts into his reading time, as he … Continue reading

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