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“All writing is raveling and unraveling:” An Interview with Maryrose Wood

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We began our Droplet series on young adult literature with a review of the first book in Maryrose Wood’s series The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, so it felt appropriate that she kick-off our interview series as well. We caught up with Wood as she finished the draft of the sixth book in the Incorrigibles series (get a sneak preview of Eliza Wheeler’s cover for book 6 at the bottom of the interview!) to ask about her rambunctious cast of characters, the influence theatre has had on her writing, and the books that inspired her as a child. Continue reading ““All writing is raveling and unraveling:” An Interview with Maryrose Wood”

Review: One Hundred Nights of Hero by Isabel Greenberg

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One Hundred Nights of Hero by Isabel Greenberg (Little, Brown and Co., 2016)

Reviewed by Rebecca Valley

Before I begin, I should admit that I am absolutely the intended audience for Isabel Greenberg’s latest graphic novel One Hundred Nights of Hero. It is a book which revolves around stories and the women who tell them, and as a poet and long-time reader currently making her living as a children’s librarian, it’s not exactly a wonder that I’d be tickled by this book. That being said, I find that the people who enjoy reading book reviews tend to be those similarly pleased by books that valorize story-telling (i.e. writers, librarians, peddlers of books in all shapes and forms). So I’ll begin, then, by saying that this is a book for story-lovers. It’s littered with tale tales, it’s characters are story-tellers. There is (fortunately) just no avoiding it. Continue reading “Review: One Hundred Nights of Hero by Isabel Greenberg”

Local Forecast: Whirlwind @ Lesbos by Risa Denenberg

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Whirlwind @ Lesbos by Risa Denenberg (Headmistress Press, 2016)

Reviewed by Rebecca Valley

After a long hiatus, I’ve returned to our Local Forecast series on writers of the Pacific Northwest with a book that, while written by a local, is remarkably worldly. Whirlwind @ Lesbos, the latest collection by Seattlite Risa Denenberg, is aptly named – the poems in this collection pull from the deepest corners of the poet’s memory and are juxtaposed together to create a sensual, painful epic where a lover is lost at the same moment, or perhaps even before, she is found, and ghosts churn, only occasionally showing their faces. Continue reading “Local Forecast: Whirlwind @ Lesbos by Risa Denenberg”

Review: The Vegetarian by Han Kang

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The Vegetarian by Han Kang (Hogarth Books, 2015) trans. by Deborah Smith

Reviewed by Rebecca Valley

On the surface, the story of Han Kang’s Man Booker prize-winning novel The Vegetarian sounds almost like a fairy tale. It is the story, after all, of a woman desperate to become a tree. But the pages themselves weave a different sort of tale – one of nightmares, of abuse, of the misunderstandings and cruelties which stem from an attempt at independence. In three parts, it winds itself around one starving woman, and the myriad ways the other characters seek to control her desires. It is horrifying, stark, unflinching book which sneaks up on you, startles you. After reading this book, I was afraid to look in the mirror. Continue reading “Review: The Vegetarian by Han Kang”

Droplet: Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo

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Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo (Candlewick Press, 2016)

Reviewed by Rebecca Valley

On Tuesday, I called a friend of mine to tell him something that felt, in that moment, desperately important. “I am reading the perfect book,” I said. “There is just enough and nothing extra. Each line is critical. It is perfect.” The book, of course, was Raymie Nightingale. When I closed the cover this afternoon, after staring for a while at the last page, I was crying the way you cry at simple miracles. Kate DiCamillo called this book “the absolutely true story of [her] heart.” I understand. I texted my friend: “It is about childhood and grief and hopefulness. It reminds me of how I felt as a kid.” Continue reading “Droplet: Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo”

Review: Claire of the Sea Light by Edwidge Danticat

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Claire of the Sea Light by Edwidge Danticat (Knopf/Vintage, 2013)

Reviewed by Rebecca Valley

“The morning Claire Limyé Lanmé Faustin turned seven, a freak wave, measured between ten and twelve feet high, was seen in the ocean outside Ville Rose” (3).

A girl, a birthday, a seaside village, a wave: these are the things which begin Edwidge Danticat’s novel Claire of the Sea Light, and they are the things which persist, wrapping themselves around each other in tighter and tighter knots until they are finally pulled tight at the close of the novel. Continue reading “Review: Claire of the Sea Light by Edwidge Danticat”

Recommended Reading: Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction

On International Women’s Day, the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction announced their longlist for the 2017 prize. The Bailey’s Prize is one of the most prestigious book prizes awarded in the U.K., and each year they highlight stunning books by contemporary female authors that cover a broad range of themes. Continue reading “Recommended Reading: Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction”