BEFORE THE END, AFTER THE BEGINNING by Dagoberto Gilb

Dagoberto Gilb’s latest book, BEFORE THE END, AFTER THE BEGINNING, although a slight collection, is loaded with insight and humor. It’s a book about identity, about the tension between limiting factors outside our control– our race, our class, our gender – and our complexity as individuals.

November 9, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Class - Race - Gender, Humorous, Latin American/Caribbean, Mexico, Short Stories, Texas, y Award Winning Author

YOU DESERVE NOTHING by Alexander Maksik

Part school story, part existentialism primer, YOU DESERVE NOTHING, is a deftly told and absorbing debut. Ostensibly, the story of a troubled teacher who goes too far, YOU DESERVE NOTHING is also a thoughtful examination of moral education, of the ways in which we learn to navigate the minefield between duty and freedom, courage and cowardice, the self and the persona.

September 26, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , , ,  · Posted in: 2011 Favorites, Character Driven, Contemporary, Debut Novel, Literary

WE THE ANIMALS by Justin Torres

WE THE ANIMALS in this wonderful debut novel refers to three brothers, close in age, growing up in upstate New York. They are the Three Musketeers bound strongly together not just because of geographical isolation but because of cultural separateness too. The brothers are born to a white mother and a Puerto Rican father—they are half-breeds confused about their identity and constrained by desperate and mind-numbing poverty.

September 22, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , ,  · Posted in: Class - Race - Gender, Coming-of-Age, Contemporary, Family Matters, Latin American/Caribbean, NE & New York

MAKEDA by Randall Robinson

MAKEDA is the title character of Randall Robinson’s astounding, thought provoking, and highly engaging novel. A blind retired “laundress,” Makeda’s life is anchored in her tiny, often sun-filled, parlour in Richmond, Virginia. Her modest circumstances, after a life of hardship, stand in stark contrast to her appearance and demeanor: at home, at church and in the market, she is usually clad in richly embroidered beautiful African gowns and she radiates wisdom and emotional strength, instilling respect wherever she goes. Some unknown visitors leave gifts for her, or speak to her as if she were somebody else…

September 11, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , ,  · Posted in: Africa, Coming-of-Age, Family Matters, Literary, US South

NEUROMANCER by William Gibson

One of the rare books to wear the coveted triple-crown of science-fiction, winning all three major prizes in the genre (the Hugo, Phillip K. Dick, Nebula awards), as well as being included on Time Magazine’s 1995 list, “All TIME 100 Best Novels,” it isn’t hyperbolic to claim that William Gibson’s 1983 classic, NEUROMANCER, is a must-read in our world of ubiquitous WI-FI, 24-hour connectedness, and the Blue Brain reverse engineering project, a world in which a recent Time magazine cover claimed The Singularity would be upon is in less than 40 years.

August 21, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , ,  · Posted in: Classic, Debut Novel, Hugo Award, Japan, Nebula Award Winner, Philip K. Dick Award, Scifi, y Award Winning Author

SMUGGLED by Christina Shea

This is Éva Farkas, a Hungarian Jew, releasing a homing pigeon in the bleak courtyard at Auschwitz sometime in the early 1990s. Smuggled out of Hungary at the age of five, she has survived by living under an assumed name (Anca) in Romania, survived years of Communist oppression, years of “peeping between her fingers,” always in fear of denunciation, paying for accomodation with access to her body. Now, with the fall of the Berlin Wall, she has come home again to reclaim her old identity and embark on a life too long postponed.

August 14, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Facing History, Reading Guide, Romania, World Lit