shynds's blog

Six Walks: In the Footsteps of Henry David Thoreau by Ben Shattuck - Book Review

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Six Walks: In the Footsteps of Henry David Thoreau Cover Image
ISBN: 9781953534040
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Published: Tin House Books - April 19th, 2022

Shattuck is the perfect companion on his Thoreau-inspired ambles on the beach and through the woods. The book succeeds as an extremely agreeable example of armchair travel combined with masterful nature writing. It also ignited in me a new curiosity about his muse, Henry David Thoreau. Sprinkle in the kindness of strangers, the importance of friendship, and the comfort of family, Six Walks is a deeply personal and highly relatable excursion by a very talented writer. ~ Reviewed by Stan Hynds

Mercury Pictures Presents: A Novel by Anthony Marra - Book Review

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Mercury Pictures Presents: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780451495204
Availability: Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Hogarth - August 2nd, 2022

Marra's first book, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, could stand as the crowning achievement of a writer's career. His second novel is another triumph by a writer whom we will be following for years to come. An intricate tapestry of characters whose lives connect over continents and time, Mercury is set in Fascist Italy of the late 1930s and early 1940s, and in Hollywood at the same time. The novel follows emigres and prisoners and people in power as they scheme with and against each other on a turbulent stage. The myriad characters struggle against racism, xenophobia, and political oppression as America enters the "Good War" and Hollywood is conscripted to deliver indoctrination films. Rising above it all is recent immigrant Maria. She is estranged from her mother, her father is confined in a prison colony in Italy, she endures a complicated relationship with a young Italian acquaintance whom she blames for her father's fate, all while persevering at a middling film studio where she is literally trying to make a name for herself. Marra showcases his expansive talents in this beautifully written, deeply researched wonder of a novel. ~ Reviewed by Stan Hynds

Invisible Child: Poverty, Survival, and Hope in an American City by Andrea Elliott - Book Review

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Invisible Child: Poverty, Survival & Hope in an American City (Pulitzer Prize Winner) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780812986952
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Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - May 17th, 2022

Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Andrea Elliott shows in the most vivid detail possible the day to day reality of poverty and homelessness through the lives of one family in New York City. It is nearly impossible to encapsulate what this family endures. The focus is on Dasani, the oldest child in the family, as she and her siblings are moved from homeless shelter to public housing to the homes of family members to foster homes. It is a story full of contradictions, heroes and villains, hope and heartbreak. Elliott has written an impossible to ignore masterpiece about this country and our neighbors. ~ Reviewed by Stan Hynds

Groundskeeping: A novel by Lee Cole - Book Review

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Groundskeeping: A novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593320501
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Published: Knopf - March 1st, 2022

Cole delivers a thoroughly entertaining debut about the glory and terror of having your whole life ahead of you. Are you stuck or are you free? Should you stay or should you go?
Filled with wonderfully crafted characters and sharp dialogue, Groundskeeping follows two young lovers who are also writers. She is privileged and published. He works on the grounds crew and lives in his grandfather's basement. A very fun and smart ride. ~ Reviewed by Stan Hynds

How Strange a Season: Fiction by Megan Mayhew Bergman - Book Review

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How Strange a Season: Fiction Cover Image
ISBN: 9781476713106
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Published: Scribner - March 29th, 2022

Bergman gets better with every book. This collection of short stories and one novella showcases her skill at creating characters in various stages of adversity. The women who take center stage in her fiction struggle against and in spite of the cards they are dealt. Each of these stories made me think deeply about the desire for meaning and fulfillment. Indigo Run, this collection's crowning achievement, takes place at an ancestral home near Charleston, South Carolina in the early 20th century. Everyone is in some way trapped by their circumstances. The main character thinks to herself, "Practice the art of polite conversation...and know that a woman can die of thirst beside the ocean." ~ Reviewed by Stan Hynds


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