Posts in Reading

The Truth About Amritsar

The Amritsar Massacre is one of those historical events about which I knew only the bare facts: British colonial troops massacred unarmed Indian civilians in a public garden. After reading Kim Wagner’s detailed history, Amritsar 1919: An Empire of Fear and the Making of a Massacre, I now understand it in a deeper way: not just as a horrific and… Read More

Digging to America by Anne Tyler: Review

In Digging to America, Tyler charts the course of two mismatched families, the hale and hearty, all-American Donaldsons and the quieter, more reticent Iranian-American Yazdans. All they have in common is that they both adopted babies from Korea at the same time, welcoming them on the same flight at Baltimore airport one hot August evening in 1997.

Read More

Borges Marathon, Part 4: Monk Eastman, Purveyor of Iniquities

Welcome back to this slow process of reviewing every short story written by Jorge Luis Borges. So far, we’ve looked at the stories of Lazarus Morell, Tom Castro, and the Widow Ching. Today it’s a story of another villain, the New York gangster Monk Eastman. Reading these stories again made me wonder why I enjoyed them so much. These first… Read More

Crimson by Niviaq Korneliussen

This review of Crimson by Niviaq Korneliussen is my second post for Indigenous Literature Week. The first was a review of The Imaginary Lives of James Poneke by Tina Makereti. Five chapters. Five narrators. Five different experiences of being young Greenlanders trying to navigate the complex territory of gender and sexual identity. That’s the basic setup of Crimson by Niviaq… Read More

The Imaginary Lives of James Poneke by Tina Makereti

As part of Indigenous Literature Week, here’s my review of The Imaginary Lives of James Poneke by Maori author Tina Makereti. The violence of colonisation can take many forms. There’s physical violence, of course, in the form of land grabs, murder, rape, mutilation, and other forms of terrorism. There’s psychological violence: the colonisation of the mind of its subjects with… Read More

June 2021 Reading Roundup

In my last reading roundup, I was still emerging from winter. Now, it’s been 30+ degrees for weeks, and I can barely remember what a cloud looks like. The storks that had just appeared on the tops of the electricity poles now have little kiddie storks standing up and giving their wings some practice flaps. So I guess I missed… Read More

Nightshade by Annalena McAfee

If you need your fictional characters to be likeable, to be the sort of people that you can “root for”, then absolutely do NOT read Nightshade by Annalena McAfee. If, on the other hand, you want characters to be interesting, complex, and perhaps even illustrative of deeper themes to do with the tension between art and life, then read on…. Read More

The Archipelago of Another Life Readalong, Part 4

Here’s a little life tip for you. If you ever feel that the time is starting to drag and you’d like your life to be busier, try signing up for a blogging event. As soon as the dates roll around, you’ll find your life getting so hectic that all your plans for diligent participation go out of the window. That’s… Read More

Borges Marathon, Part 3: The Widow Ching—Pirate

Before I read Borges, I used to think there was a sharp dividing line between fiction and nonfiction. In my own writing, there’s a huge gap between the serious, diligently factual articles I write for The Wall Street Journal and the entirely invented worlds of my novels and short stories. But Jorge Luis Borges is constantly blurring the lines and… Read More