WRECKER by Summer Wood

WRECKER takes place primarily in the Mattole Valley in northern California from 1965 through the 1980’s. It is the story of a commune called Bow Farm and of the people who live there, held together by their love of a boy named Wrecker who comes to them unexpectedly and grows to be the glue that keeps them all together.

February 17, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: California, Contemporary, Family Matters


As TRY TO REMEMBER begins in 1968, Gabriella is fifteen years old, living with her father, mother and two younger brothers near Miami, Florida. They have come to the United States from Colombia and though her parents both hold green cards, Gabi is afraid that they will all have their cards confiscated and be sent back to their village in Colombia. Gabi’s fears stem mostly from the fact that her father behaves erratically and her brothers get into trouble in school.

May 21, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: Class - Race - Gender, Coming-of-Age, Florida, Latin American/Caribbean

HAUNTING BOMBAY by Shilpa Agarwal

It’s 1960 and partitioned India is rife with factions, superstitions, violence and oppression.

The Mittal household, living in a rambling bungalow in the old colonial enclave of Malabar Hill, Bombay, presents a comfortable, serene exterior to the world. But behind the walls, amid the remnants of British raj furnishings and “the aroma of sandalwood, peppers and fried cumin,” the extended family seethes with desire and discontent.

March 31, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Debut Novel, Facing History, India-Pakistan, World Lit

THE TRUTH ABOUT LOVE by Josephine Hart

What can one say about Irish writers? Deep into this book, here’s what Josephine Hart says: “A city that had produced Joyce and Beckett and Yeats, a country that produced poet-heroes and more priests and nuns per head of population than almost any on earth was not going to spawn boys who just wanted to stand before a packed hall of gyrating teenagers and strum their guitars and sing. They had to have a message. One of salvation; they were in it to save the world. Like I said, we’re teachers, missionaries.” And then, a few pages later, as a character summarizes a reading experience: “When I finished the book I thought, language–that’s his real subject, not history.” When you read sentences like these, in a book like this, you sense you’re on to something special. The Irish writers take themselves seriously. They are bent, as noted above, towards the mission–with style.

February 21, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , ,  · Posted in: 2010 Favorites, Contemporary, Literary, World Lit


Title IX bans discrimination in schools based on gender—thus ensuring equal opportunities for girls and boys in academics and athletics. When ex-congresswoman Pat Schroeder, one of the driving forces behind Title IX once visited a high school, a coach asked his team of boys to show her what they collectively thought of the legislation—they turned their backs to Schroeder and mooned her.This shocking incident is but one of many Gail Collins uses to superb effect in her illuminating book, WHEN EVERYTHING CHANGED.

January 3, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags:  · Posted in: 2009 Favorites, Class - Race - Gender, Non-fiction


Thomas Bernhard is a wonderful wordsmith. He weaves his story in riffs like jazz motifs or the most beautiful of tapestries. In a tapestry, there may be repeat stitches but the colors and gauge change, the dynamic conspires to grow and become something else just as it is being created. Like a weaver or jazz musician, Bernhard repeats the essence of his message in many ways, giving the reader a marvelous opportunity to see into the protagonist’s mind. He is a natural story teller.

December 21, 2009 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: Austria, Classic, Facing History, Translated, Unique Narrative, World Lit