Blog Category: Book Sketches

Posted by BHanley on Mon, Mar 18
Bursting with raw intensity and dazzling brilliance similar to The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas delivers a surefire powerhouse follow-up in On the Come Up. Bri is a 16-year-old aspiring rapper looking to help her family out by making it big. Growing up in Garden Heights (Los Angeles) where many people struggle with bills, drugs, and gangs, Bri wants to be a beacon of hope for her community. Bri is a captivating force in all her teenage determination, complexity, and heart. You...
Posted by BHanley on Thu, Feb 28
America for Beginners by Leah Franqui is a poignant story, told with careful, respectful prose. A year after the death of her husband, an Indian woman, Pival Sengupta, decides to visit her gay and estranged son in the United States. Under the guise of a country tour, Pival travels with Satya, the tour guide, and Rebecca, a hired actress to be her traveling companion. Pival’s eyes and mind are opened on this journey, as are the perspectives of her guides, as they navigate the...
Posted by JGranatino on Thu, Feb 14
The beloved poet, Mary Oliver, passed away on January 17, 2019. Winner of the National Book Award, the Pulitzer Prize and many other literary honors, Oliver was a prolific poet and essayist best known for her widely accessible, simple yet profound verses reflecting a reverence for the natural world and a deeply personal faith. Devotions is a particularly interesting volume, as it contains over 200 poems covering more than 50 years, selected by Oliver herself. In every poem, this...
Posted by JGranatino on Thu, Feb 14
This slender book, a compilation of addresses by a notable pupil of the late Tibetan teacher Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, skillfully explores an urgent topic: the effect our own inner condition can have on the larger environment, the “global implications” of our own self-righteousness and lack of harmony. In one talk, the author defines peace as “softening what is rigid in our hearts.” She gives practical suggestions for taking responsibility, cultivating patience, changing unproductive habits,...
Posted by JGranatino on Mon, Feb 11
Father, teacher, head little league coach, and so much more, Terry Maitland really is the heart of Flint City, Oklahoma. When a heinous atrocity against a young child is committed, witnesses and DNA evidence point directly at Terry. The problem is, Terry was nowhere near Flint City when the crime occurred and he has proof of this alibi. As the tension rises, evidence on both sides builds up. Is Terry really the good guy everyone thinks he is?
Posted by JGranatino on Thu, Feb 07
This small but powerful manifesto is a heartfelt appeal from a respected Buddhist leader for young people “to lead humanity toward a renewed form of fraternity, justice, and solidarity.” In it, he stresses the need to practice altruism, non-violence, and peaceful dialogue, to exercise leadership in healing and protecting the ecosystem, and to bring about a “revolution of compassion.” He reminds the reader that because “every action, every word, and every thought has a global resonance,”...
Posted by JGranatino on Thu, Feb 07
Anyone drawn to the transcendent beauty of Rilke’s poetry and prose will appreciate this collection of newly-translated letters pondering the realities of loss and death. Rilke offers his very personal and exquisitely sensitive condolences to friends and correspondents while sharing extraordinary insights into a reality “where life and death penetrate each other and incessantly mix” and where the Angel of his affirmations “turns a radiant face toward death.”
Posted by JGranatino on Mon, Feb 04
Life inside the Morrow family’s farmhouse is far from normal. Having grown up in an abusive home, Momma uses plenty of physical means to keep her children in line. Momma and Wade have three children, up until their son Rebel abducts 4 year old Michael from a neighboring town. The Morrow’s live in a secluded area where no one can hear you scream. The story begins with Michael waking up to the screaming of one of “Momma’s girls.” As Michael begins his new life in this dysfunctional family, he...
Posted by JGranatino on Mon, Feb 04
During the initial outbreak of “Herod's Syndrome,” all prepubescent children suddenly drop dead at about the same time. Grief, despair, and unreality encompass parents while funeral homes  struggle to keep up with so many dead all at once. Three days later, after many are buried and rotting, all the children suddenly wake up with no memory of what has happened. All seems oddly normal, until they start to die again. At the unsettling request of the children, the parents learn that once given...
Posted by JGranatino on Mon, Jan 28
College student, Darby Thorne is en route to see her dying mother when a blizzard in the Colorado Rockies forces her to wait out the storm at a rest stop with just a coffee maker and a few vending machines. As luck will have it, she finds herself with no cell phone reception in the company of four strangers. While searching for cell reception outside, she spies a young girl in a cage hidden in the back of one of the other stranded vehicles. Realizing that she must carefully orchestrate her next...

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