What Have You Been Reading? Detective, Detective, Spy Edition

When left to my own devices, I tend to binge-read about subjects or to binge-read authors and/or series. That works well for me, but it’s something I try to avoid inflicting on the readers of this blog because I seriously doubt anyone else is as interested in some of these literary rabbit trails as I am. (You’re welcome.)

Lately, however, I’ve been exploring some mystery and espionage thriller series I’ve been meaning to read for a while, and I did want to share those.

Continue reading “What Have You Been Reading? Detective, Detective, Spy Edition”

Book Buzz: Modern-Day David Copperfields, WWII Romances, Vacations, Rivers, and Journeys

Every month, we’re profiling new-ish releases that are getting critical and commercial buzz. For November, we’re looking at Barbara Kingsolver’s latest acclaimed novel, a Rebecca-esque romance set during WWII, a throwback to summer, the real-life story of a modern mythical figure, and an audiobook set in medieval Ireland.

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Book Buzz: Mad Scientists, Dystopian YA, Librarian Spies, the Haitian Revolution, Opposites Attract Romances, Pirates, and Horror on the Range

Every month, we’re profiling new-ish releases that are getting critical and commercial buzz. For October, we’re looking at gothic horror inspired by The Island of Dr. Moreau, science fiction by a local author, historical fiction about WWII and the Haitian Revolution, a cute romance between two very different people, a swashbuckling nonfiction tale about Golden Age piracy, and an audiobook of Dean Koontz’s latest.

Continue reading “Book Buzz: Mad Scientists, Dystopian YA, Librarian Spies, the Haitian Revolution, Opposites Attract Romances, Pirates, and Horror on the Range”

Book Buzz: Problematic Siblings, Foodie Friends, Intergenerational Trauma, Talented Monsters, Courtroom Drama, and Derailed Safaris

Every month, we’re profiling new-ish releases that are getting critical and commercial buzz. For September, we’re looking at historical fiction about one of America’s most infamous families, a sweet tale of food-based friendship, a magical realism family saga, an atmospheric Victorian gothic fantasy, a well-researched chronicle of legal battles over agricultural pollution, and an audiobook thriller.

Continue reading “Book Buzz: Problematic Siblings, Foodie Friends, Intergenerational Trauma, Talented Monsters, Courtroom Drama, and Derailed Safaris”

Book Buzz: Historical Fiction, Once, Twice, Thrice; Literary Science Fiction; Turmeric; and Space Race Rom Coms

Every month, we’re profiling new-ish releases that are getting critical and commercial buzz. For June, we’re looking at historical fiction set during the Great Depression, the Russian Revolution, and World War II; Emily St. John Mandel’s newest book; a cookbook solely devoted to this month’s spice; and a rom com that pairs an astronaut with a movie star.

Continue reading “Book Buzz: Historical Fiction, Once, Twice, Thrice; Literary Science Fiction; Turmeric; and Space Race Rom Coms”

Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko

When Sunja is born in the 1910s in Yeongdo, a small fishing village, in what is now South Korea, she has no expectation of ever leaving her hometown. Her parents, including her kindly but disabled father Hoonie, run a boardinghouse that largely caters to local fishermen. It seems inevitable that Sunja, as her parents’ only surviving child, will also spend her entire life in Yeongdo running the family boardinghouse.

However, as a teenager, Sunja migrates to Japan to start a new life, as many Koreans did during this time when Korea was a Japanese colony. This decision, made largely to avoid the intense shame she will face in her hometown for her out-of-wedlock pregnancy and connected to marriage to a virtual stranger to save face, touches off a family saga spanning decades that examines the experiences of Zainichi, Japan’s Korean population. As with many Zainichi, Sunja and her family find themselves experiencing intense discrimination in Japan and must navigate finding their way in a country that is technically home but doesn’t feel like it.

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Book Buzz: Coming-of-Age Tales, Florence, Danish Mysteries, Survival Memoirs, and the Mexican War

Every month, we’re profiling new-ish releases that are getting critical and commercial buzz. For May, we’re looking at a coming-of-age story set in the 90s, a WWII story with an Italian setting, a new-ish series of Danish procedural mysteries, a Holocaust memoir, and historical fiction about the Mexican War.

Continue reading “Book Buzz: Coming-of-Age Tales, Florence, Danish Mysteries, Survival Memoirs, and the Mexican War”

Book Buzz: Magical Realism, the Titanic, Tacos, Chefs with a Side of Murder, Black Foodways, and Tractors

Every month, we’re profiling new-ish releases that are getting critical and commercial buzz. For April, we’re looking at magical realism about an Ecuadorean family, historical fiction about one of the most famous shipwrecks, a romantic comedy about a food truck, murder mysteries with a culinary twist, a fascinating cookbook/anthology about Black food culture around the world, and a nonfiction examination of the now little-remembered Tractor Wars of the early 20th century.

Continue reading “Book Buzz: Magical Realism, the Titanic, Tacos, Chefs with a Side of Murder, Black Foodways, and Tractors”

Book Buzz: Cuban Revolutionaries, Irish Family Sagas, Romantic Pen Pals, Teenaged Journalists, and Historic Kidnappings

Every month, we’re profiling new-ish releases that are getting critical and commercial buzz. For January, we’re looking at biographical fiction set in 19th century Cuba and Gilded Age New York City, a family history trilogy set in Ireland and beyond, a modern romance between pen pals, a YA book about a budding young writer who stumbles across more than she bargained for with her first assignment, and an audiobook that is the first nonfiction from a novelist.

Continue reading “Book Buzz: Cuban Revolutionaries, Irish Family Sagas, Romantic Pen Pals, Teenaged Journalists, and Historic Kidnappings”

Book Buzz: Pack Horse Librarians (Again), Poison Gardens, Hippo Mysteries, and Problem Wildlife

Every month, we’re profiling new-ish releases that are getting critical and commercial buzz. For December, we’re looking at historical fiction about Kentucky pack horse libraries during the Great Depression, a fantasy about a green thumb and deadly plants, a comedic children’s mystery, and Mary Roach’s latest nonfiction romp.

Continue reading “Book Buzz: Pack Horse Librarians (Again), Poison Gardens, Hippo Mysteries, and Problem Wildlife”