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


If UNDER FISHBONE CLOUDS doesn’t attain the high readership it deserves, there is no justice. It’s quite simply one of the most lavishly imagined, masterfully researched, exquisitely written contemporary novels I’ve read. And if that sounds as if I’m gushing…well, it’s probably because I am.

December 7, 2010 · Judi Clark · One Comment
Tags: , , , , , , ,  · Posted in: 2010 Favorites, China, Facing History, Family Matters, World Lit

RED HOOK ROAD by Ayelet Waldman

Without much ado, let me state that I think this book is brilliant. It took my breath away and grabbed me by my heart from the first page till its stunning coda. Without being maudlin or histrionic, Ayelet Waldman’s RED HOOK ROAD examines the impact of loss and grief on two families, each as different as day and night. In the first chapter of the book, the reader is spectator to a profound tragedy. A young couple, married for about one hour, die in a car accident on the way to their own wedding reception.

July 12, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, Family Matters, Literary, NE & New York, Reading Guide


Every now and then, a “stealth book” comes along – one that surprises you, captures you in its grip, and doesn’t let go until you turn the last page. THE GHOST OF MILAGRO CREEK is such a book.


I expected this book to be something else entirely – a light mystery about two blood brothers who vied for the same gringo girl in the Cain-and-Abel tradition. In reality, the book is lyrical, poignant, and from time to time, electrifying. It depicts the life of the Taos barrio colorfully and – in my mind – authentically.

July 7, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Reading Guide, US Southwest, Wild West, y Award Winning Author

BLOODROOT by Amy Greene

Somewhere, in the darkest and most remote part of Tennessee, lie hollers, ridges, and knolls. Set among them is a place named Bloodroot Mountain, home to Myra and her granny. The mountain gets its name from the bloodroot flowers that grow there. These flowers are so toxic that they can cause death. They are also so curative that they have amazing healing powers

January 21, 2010 · Judi Clark · One Comment
Tags: , , , , , , ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, Debut Novel, Family Matters, Literary, US South

NOAH’S COMPASS by Anne Tyler

Reading an Anne Tyler novel is like listening to a gentle friend tell you a story, a friend you trust, someone who practices yoga or meditates and is unflappable as a result. This friend has a knack for knowing people, but isn’t a know-it-all. And most of all she has a sense of caring, and exhibits compassion toward the people in her stories. She is a good friend, indeed. And a wonderful story teller.

January 5, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, End-of-Life, Reading Guide, US Mid-Atlantic, y Award Winning Author