Thumbs up for When I’m Gone, Look for Me in the East by Quan Barry. Literature.
A young monk-to-be is sent on a quest across Mongolia to look for the reincarnation of a previous religious master. With him is his twin brother, who was himself named as a reincarnated master as a child, but dropped out of religious life in favor of women and cigarettes.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for The Belle of Belgrave Square by Mimi Matthews. Historical romance.
The ostensible one-line description: A young lady with severe social anxiety and a military hero with a secret enter into a marriage of convenience. The thing is, though, this book is not just better than most other historical romances, it is better than most other books regardless of genre.… >> Read more
Two thumbs up for Matrix by Lauren Groff. Historical fiction.
A fictionalized biography of Marie de France—king’s bastard daughter, abbess, mystic, writer. (She may have been two different Maries in actuality, a fact which I think would amuse the character.) Marie is a badass. A physical giant among women, with an ambition to match. She loves, she fights, she builds, she prays, she outwits her enemies, she plots and plans and often succeeds.… >> Read more
Two thumbs up for Ithaca by Claire North. Historical fantasy.
When you read a lot and then you find a book that knocks your socks off, it can be hard to explain why. I am going to use some words about Ithaca that sound like the Guardian reviewing a Shakespeare interpretation: this book is mature, assured, poignant, witty, and cutting. Since it is a story from Homer retold from the women’s point of view, the comparison to Madeline Miller’s Circe is obvious, and I did love Circe, but this book has a lot more bite to it.… >> Read more
Two thumbs up for Paladin’s Grace, Paladin’s Strength, and Paladin’s Hope by T. Kingfisher. Fantasy romance.
T. Kingfisher has been on my radar for a while because someone who knows *my* books recommended her to me. And yes, that was correct. Her sense of humor and the things she finds interesting are pretty much a 100% match for mine.… >> Read more
Two thumbs up for Less is Lost by Andrew Sean Greer. Literature.
I enjoyed the previous book, Less, very much. This one, in which the eponymous Less stumbles across America, is even better. I wouldn’t suggest reading this if you haven’t read Less (though I suppose you could), but if you have and are wondering whether to read this one too, the answer is yes.… >> Read more
Two thumbs up for Less by Andrew Sean Greer. Literature.
What a delightful trifle of a book! I can’t believe a comedy – a truly funny and shockingly good-hearted comedy – won the Pulitzer Prize. (Can comedies win things?) Our titular character, Arthur Less, almost fifty, a good but not famous or rich novelist, is invited to the wedding of his younger ex-lover.… >> Read more