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Say Say Say: A novel by Lila Savage - Book Review

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$24.00
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ISBN: 9780525655923
Published: Knopf - July 9th, 2019

Savage paints a unique story of insight, as Ella, a young caregiver, begins caring for Jill, after a traumatic brain injury. Ella asks herself questions most of us might ask ourselves when growing to know and love someone. Is Jill still aware, trapped in a body she can't control? Does Jill's husband Bryn share the same feelings for Ella that Ella finds herself having? Savage poses considerable importance on what is said and unsaid, our incapacity to fully know someone, and the fear of vulnerability which drives us away from making honest human connections. ~ Reviewed by Alex Bell


Normal People: A Novel by Sally Rooney - Book Review

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$26.00
ISBN: 9781984822178
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Published: Hogarth - April 16th, 2019

Normal people is ferocious, but beyond that it lives and breaths with a unique intensity. Like reading through a bolt of lightening, I felt my heart pounding away, leading me along with Rooney‘s immaculate prose into a psychological daydream, digging into each gesture and mannerism these characters make to help reveal a depth more in line with cinema than literature. To read about these characters is like reading about the secret-self we try to shadow in the corners of our minds. But Sally Rooney has lifted the veils and shepherded these fragments of personality we’ve come to shun. They feel real when you read about their mistakes and their depressions, and how for their own stupid reasons why they can't exactly express to one another how they feel. Because for the most part neither can we. I can't wait to read Rooney's other work as fast as I can get my hands on them. This is quite a remarkable achievement, and one of my new favorite books. ~ Reviewed by Alex Bell


The Four Horsemen: The Conversation That Sparked an Atheist Revolution by Christopher Hitchens - Book Review

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$23.00
ISBN: 9780525511953
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Published: Random House - March 19th, 2019

The three remaining 'horsemen' reflect on the impact their one-time religion vs. secularism conversation—which appears afterward in transcript—has had since 2007. One of my great takeaways was the understanding and love for the beauty religion has produced in the arts and humanities, even for the nonbeliever. This is a deep and humanistic read meant to invoke further thought and comment. So, in the spirit of Hitchens, read, contemplate, debate. ~ Reviewed by Alex Bell


Where Reasons End: A Novel by Yiyun Li - Book Review

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$25.00
ISBN: 9781984817372
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Published: Random House - February 5th, 2019

A woman converses with her deceased son in a series of personal, philosophic musings and nostalgic reminiscences as she tends to her grief. Their banter is whimsical, and her pain is like a neutron star after a supernova. But—as her son explains—"perhaps there is no true togetherness when some pains remain incomprehensible.". ~ Reviewed by Alex Bell


Evil: The Science Behind Humanity's Dark Side by Julia Shaw - Book Review

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ISBN: 9781419729492
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Published: Abrams Press - February 26th, 2019

This book could easily be a thousand pages long, and might be a better book if it were, but there's at least enough here in its roughly 260 pages for the reader to find a basic understanding of why labeling people as evil or inhuman is more a misconception about our species, and also becomes an easy way to place blame and visualize people more as monsters and not acknowledge the darker sides of our own selves, and the grave responsibility we all share but largely ignore. My hope is that people will read this book and instantly want to look for more. ~ Reviewed by Alex Bell


The White Book by Han Kang - Book Review

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$20.00
ISBN: 9780525573067
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Published: Hogarth - February 19th, 2019

Kang weaves together a series of short poetic vignettes of tales and symbols focused on the color in question, from the author's young mother who lost her first child merely two hours after its birth, to small yet vivid meditations of the writer held up at a writer's residency in Warsaw. At its core the book is about loss and grief, with incredible imagery and depth for such a slim text, over a relationship that should have been, but was taken long before Kang had any opportunity to discover it. If anything I've read as of late deserves one or more rereads it's this wonderfully evocative piece of prose. ~ Reviewed by Alex Bell


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