Book Review: Tenth of December

Tenth of December by George Saunders

Tenth of December: Stories by George Saunders (New York: Random House, 2013. 288 pp) MacArthur “Genuis Grant” fellow George Saunders is the acclaimed author of several collections of short stories, including Pastoralia and CivilWarLand in Bad Decline, a collection of essays, a book for children, and a new novel, Lincoln in the Bardo. He teaches in the creative writing program at Syracuse University. From Long-Form Narrative to Short Story Over the years, my previously devoted followers—”the devoted few,” might have noticed a trend to my reviewing habits. My reading consumption skews toward the novel. I review a book of poetry here and there, but largely my mental capacity focuses on long-form narrative. Certainly, elements of this focus coincide with my… Read More →

Book Review: Hikikomori and the Rental Sister

Hikikomori and the Rental Sister Where Pen Meets Paper

Hikikomori and the Rental Sister: A Novel by Jeff Backhaus (Chapel Hill: Algonquin Books, 2013. 256 pp) Jeff Backhaus has been a cook, an art director, and a professional pilot. He has lived and worked in Korea, and now lives in New York. Etymologically Speaking Etymologically speaking, agoraphobia stands for a “fear of the marketplace.” By definition, the marketplace is a crowded, expansive, and anxiety-inducing space. Everyone goes to the market. We all have daily needs; a centralized space answers to those needs; we all frequent these spaces as a result. Conceptually, I understand agoraphobia. If you feel as if the world is a burden and you are unsure of how to interact socially, why go outside? Why even try?… Read More →

Book Review: The Corrections

The Corrections: A Novel by Jonathan Franzen (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2001. 576 pp) Jonathan Franzen is an American author. He graduated from Swarthmore College with a degree in German. Franzen has received widespread acclaim for his book, The Corrections. He has won the National Book Award and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. He lives in New York City and Santa Cruz, California. A New Reading Style Without having read any of his work, Jonathan Franzen was the source for rethinking the books I read. After garnering more acclaim for his latest book, Freedom, a few female authors expressed displeasure about his books gaining prestige as literary novels while their books—highlighting the same themes—were labeled “chick lit.”… Read More →

Book Review: The Keep

The Keep: A Novel by Jennifer Egan (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2006. 272 pp) Born in Chicago, Jennifer Egan spent her formative years in San Francisco. She majored in English literature at the University of Pennsylvania. Then, she accepted a fellowship at St. John’s College, Cambridge. Egan has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Fiction, and a Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Fellowship at the New York Public Library. Her first novel, The Invisible Circus, became a feature film starring Cameron Diaz. Her latest book, A Visit from the Goon Squad, won the 2011 National Book Critics Award for Fiction, a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and the LA Times Book Prize for Fiction…. Read More →