Review: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

What it is: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz is the story of a Dominican family with a curse that dooms them to tragedy and ill-fated love. Oscar, our overweight, nerdy protagonist, never seems capable of winning, either in his dreams of writing the next great sci-fi novel or in having his first…

Review: My Name Is Seepeetza

What it is: My Name is Seepeetza by Shirley Sterling is a semi-autobiographical book about a young aboriginal girl who is sent to Kalamak Indian Residential School as part of the government’s attempts to assimilate native children into white culture. The book takes a diary format and follows Seepeetza’s time at school and on her family’s ranch.…

Review: Don Quixote

What it is: Don Quixote de La Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes is considered to be one of the greatest and most influential works of fiction, especially among Spanish literature. The title character, dubbed Don Quixote, becomes obsessed with reading about knights errant and their chivalric adventures. He goes insane, and attempts to bring these fictitious books to life with…

Review: Order of Seven

What it is: Order of Seven by Beth Teliho is a young adult novel that combines supernatural and realistic elements to tell the story of Devi Bennett, who must discover her roots to figure out a family secret. What I liked about it: Teliho’s writing is excellent, and she draws the reader in with a voice that feels human but still…

Review: Blue is the Warmest Color

What it is: Blue is the Warmest Color by Julie Maroh is the story of Clementine, a high school student, and Emma, a college student, who begin a romantic/sexual relationship. Emma guides Clementine to understand and come to terms with her sexuality, but ultimately tragedy tears the two apart. What I liked about it: The art is fantastic. I have…

Review: The 4-Hour Workweek

What it is: The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss is a guide to working more efficiently and effectively to make a lot of money without working long, grueling hours. It’s directed towards people working in office environments and encourages them to break free of the 9-5 in order to have a life that is both financially successful…

Review: Mouthful of Forevers

What it is: Mouthful of Forevers is the newest book of poetry by Clementine von Radics. I’ve been a fan of her work for years, having seen her perform at the Portland Poetry Slam since I was in high school. She also hosts a writing workshop before the slam every week and I’ve really enjoyed…

Review: Love on the Road 2015

What it is: Love on the Road 2015 is an anthology that collects the winning short stories from the Love on the Road international writing contest. The stories all loosely revolve around love, although some are dark and tragic while others are light-hearted and fleeting. What I liked about it: There’s a lot of diversity of topics and characters…

Review: I’ll Give You The Sun

What it is: I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson is a young adult novel about twins and talented artists Jude and Noah. The two start off extremely close, but challenges in adolescence (including family, spirituality, romance, betrayal, and death) cause tension as they compete with each other. Meanwhile, they must discover their artistic selves and navigate…

Review: It’s Kind of a Funny Story

What it is: It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini follows the story of Craig Gilner, a 15-year-old boy with depression. He goes to a highly competitive high school and finds himself struggling with schoolwork, friend conflicts, and an inability to sleep and eat. Suicidal, he checks himself into the psychiatric ward of the…