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Girl, Woman, Other

by Bernardine Evaristo

Rating: It's great! I definitely recommend it!

Comments: A few of us got together in March and April to discuss Bernardine Evaristo’s Booker Prize-winning Girl, Woman, Other. This sweeping novel interweaves the stories of 12 Black British women – young and old, immigrant and native, rich and poor, queer and straight, urban and rural, radical feminist and conservative – each one is brought to life through Evaristo’s use of a lyrical, poetic style that allows us to inhabit each character’s thoughts and feelings in a totally new way. Some of us found this challenging at the beginning but we were all swept away by the beauty of the writing and the originality of the story, and the way it all wove together into a beautiful tapestry by the end. Highly recommended!

- Tina Casteris

Apr 2021

Sing, Unburied, Sing

by Jesmyn Ward

Rating: It's great. I definitely recommend it!

Comments: Highly recommend this book! It flutters between eras of a southern, black family and is hauntingly beautiful.

- Hillary Savage

Dec 2020

Frenchman's Creek

by Daphne Du Maurier

Rating: It's great. I definitely recommend it!

Comments: Frenchman’s Creek is not Daphne Du Maurier’s most famous novel, so finding it is like stumbling onto an excellent restaurant right around the corner from the one with the line out front. On the surface, it is an old-fashioned, swashbuckling adventure, with pirates, swords, and the sea. On another level, it is a meditation on the permanency of romantic love. And on yet another, it is empowering feminist story about cross-dressing. The plot is nothing out of the ordinary: a bored, spoiled aristocrat, married to a man she doesn’t love, leaves him in London and escapes with her children to her seaside house in Cornwall. There she encounters an infamous French pirate and falls in love. She throws off her corset and dons men’s clothing to be his equal. The French pirate loves Dona the most when she has lost everything that her culture uses to define her as a woman. Besides exploring gender roles, Du Maurier questions female power: where does it lie? Dona experiments with her influence as a man, as a mother, and as an object. . On whatever level you choose, Frenchman’s Creek is enjoyable. Du Maurier laces her suspense and romance with humor and avoids melodrama. In addition, she beautifully describes the luxurious summer days of Cornwall. If you’d like, her braver explorations into larger questions are there for the plucking.

- Margaret Wilson

Dec 2020

The Water Dancer

by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Rating: It's great. I definitely recommend it!

Comments: Both a well-researched account of slavery and the underground railroad experience, and a complex story infused with magical realism. A worthy first foray into fiction by one of our best non-fiction writers on race and social justice.

- Tina Casteris

Dec 2020

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Check out what others are recommending (or not recommending!) below!

The Book of Two Ways

by Jodi Picoult

Rating: Would definitely not recommend it!

Comments: I never thought there would be a Jodi Picoult novel that I didn't love. This one is it. It was a total slog. If you are into Egyptology, you might like it. But I was so angry with her at the ending...I almost threw the book against the wall. And I am not a violent person. Just the opposite. If it wasn't by Jodi to begin with, I would have put it down after the first few chapters and simply moved on.

- Claire Perry

Mar 2021

My Brilliant Friend 

by Elena Ferrante

Rating: It's great! I definitely recommend it!

Comments: My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante is the first of four novels in Ferrante's Neapolitan Series. Set in Naples, Italy in the years 1950's, we follow two girls from a very poor, working-class, often violent neighborhood. Elena, nicknamed Lenu, is our narrator. Her friend Rafaella, nicknamed Lila, is effortlessly exceptional in school but unsupported in her academics by her family who intends for her to go into the family business, shoemaking. As Lenu rises academically, will she be able to leave the old neighborhood behind? Or is she dependent on Lila for her success? I was transported by the world and characters of this book. Happily, there are three more in the series!

- Tina Casteris

Sept 2021