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Book reviews by library staff and guest contributors

Hillbilly, French twist

Cover of The End of Eddy
A review of The End of Eddy by Edouard Louis

Édouard Louis’s The End of Eddy is a brisk and brutal roman à clef about a white gay teen growing up in rural 1990s France. Alcoholism, racism, violence, and impugnable choices abound. Gross and upsetting things happen in riveting ways. Yet its ending is oddly uplifting. A bestseller in France, its young author is now regularly called upon by popular media to explain the advent of French populism and the alleged moral stagnation of France’s white underclass.

Dec 15, 2020

Existential angst in a superhero world

Cover of Hench
A review of Hench by Natalie Walschots

Anna Tromedlov hasn't had a gig in weeks from her temp agency so she jumps at the chance for a data entry position that might last a few weeks - even though she'll have to work on site (she prefers working from home). An offer to do some field work is unexpected but makes for a nice change of pace and she is promised that it's safe. Only it's not so much and what should have been a routine press conference by her villain boss turns into a violent attack when a hero crashes the event.

Dec 10, 2020

Most. Dramatic. Main. Squeeze. EVER.

Cover of One to Watch
A review of One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London

Bea Schumacher has had some rough mornings, but nothing quite like the one she wakes to after a particularly harrowing wine-filled evening. The plus-size fashion blogger and One to Watch heroine wakes after her hazy, booze-fueled tweet storm righteously demolishes the premiere of the popular Bachelor-esque dating show Main Squeeze, calling out the reality show’s obviously unreal portrayal of women’s bodies and beauty. Reeling from a heartrending breakup, Bea expects the resulting Twitter furor to blow over, but to her surprise, she gets a call from the show’s producer.

Dec 8, 2020

Best books for a not so best year

Book covers
2020 Best Books Lists

If you ask anyone they'd probably tell you that 2020 wasn't their best year. I won't get into all the ways in which it was not good and really it was probably not good for each of you in different ways. But what was good was the books that were published. It's really been a stellar year for reading as demonstrated by all the awesome "best" lists that are coming out. If you don't believe me - and I'll admit to being a bit biased as I was on a panel that helped select some of the titles on one of these lists - take a look at a few of the lists that have come out so far.**

Dec 2, 2020

Remembering the way she was

Cover of We Keep the Dead Close: A
A review of We Keep the Dead Close: A Murder at Harvard and a Half Centurey of Silence by Becky Cooper

When Becky Cooper first heard the story as a student at Harvard, it seemed both unbelievable but still entirely feasible: in early January 1969, a Harvard professor killed a female archeology grad student after she threatened to expose their affair. After she failed to show for her general exams, she was discovered in her apartment with red ochre and necklaces arranged ritualistically over her bloodied, naked body. Harvard smothered the investigation, the murder remained unsolved, and the professor was still teaching in the same department, fully tenured.

Dec 1, 2020

Reading getaways

Cover of Escapist Fiction
Escapist Fiction

Every January (like many people who fear failure), I set an easily achievable reading goal in a popular book tracking app. Then, I read. Sometimes I read a lot. Sometimes I go weeks without picking up a book. Sometimes, now that I’m older, I start a book and decide not to finish it. Sometimes I read books that prompt me to examine the way I live my life, to learn about the ways other lives are lived, to acknowledge the ways I use my power to the advantage of people I love.

Nov 23, 2020

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