Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Two Sundays worth of Journal Sentinel book reviews and essays from Jim Higgins, Mike Fischer, Jessie Garcia, Marion Winik and more

Two Sundays worth of Journal Sentinel book reviews and profiles!

From Jim Higgins, a take on Gerry Canavan's Octavia A. Butler, a survey of the work of the acclaimed writer whose work transcended race, gender and genre. The Higgins take: "He began his critical work with the desire to read and understand Butler specifically as a science fiction writer. But as he burrowed in deeper, Canavan became aware of Butler's desire not to be siloed or limited to a single audience. Later in her career, she pushed her publisher to court the New Age audience, wanting to add them to the circles of SF fans, African-Americans and feminists already reading her. She wanted to write bestsellers." Canavan is an Assistant Professor of English at Marquette University.

Mike Fischer offers a reflective essay on James Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. He describes reading it as a teen, and again today. Fischer philosophizes: "When I first read “Portrait” – as a 16-year-old who, like Stephen, attended a Jesuit high school – I was too young to appreciate the wry, self-deprecating humor through which Joyce pokes fun at his younger self; that would come later, upon additional readings in college and especially graduate school. But I was inspired then by the teen rebel, determined to speak truth to power."

Jessie Garcia offers a column about the perils of book promotion. Her most recent book is Going for Wisconsin Gold: Stories of Our State Olympians. From the story: "In the end, lessons I have learned on the road include: PDQ has the best hummus packs, BP has good bathrooms, a Park N Ride is a nice place to rest your eyes, a residential street is not (people will start staring); bring books on tape to pass the time, wear comfortable shoes no matter if they go with that dress or not, don’t always trust the GPS."

From Alison Sherwood, 12 coloring books to pamper your pencil and cultivate your creative crayon. Among her suggestions is a coloring book featuring David Bowie.

Also from December 18, Marion Winik review How to Survive a Plague, originally featured in Newsday. Winik's what's up: "There are two things you need to know about David France’s book How to Survive a Plague. First: It’s flawless. Masterfully written, impeccably researched, and full of feeling for the living and dead heroes of the AIDS movement." Read the review to find out the second thing you need to know.

Kathe Connai of the Star Tribune offered her criqitue of Hola and Goodbye: Una Familia in Stories. Despite some quibbles, Connai crows: "Miscolta is an effortless storyteller who lovingly depicts the comforts and constraints, jealousies and judgments, protection and pride that all families experience. Doing so from the standpoint of an immigrant family allows her to point out the limitations of a monolithic culture and make a case for accepting, inviting and celebrating our roots, wherever they may be."0

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