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All Books

Author:

Roshani Chokshi

This is a short story about a young woman whose is sent to join a group of assassins when her fate is foretold to be a sad one. From this premise, the story explores what it means to "have a choice." It is a well-written and thought-provoking story. The world in which it is set is so interesting that I wished the author had taken a little more time to explore it. Still, I couldn't stop reading this story once I started it, so I definitely recommend it.

Favorite Thing:
The exploration of the meaning of choice
The cover of The Vishakanya's Choice, an image of a young woman in red
Book Length:
Shortest
Part of Series:
Not part of a series
Stand Alone:
Yes
Stickiness:
Moderate
Disclosures:
None
Author:

Eileen Pollack

This book is a travelogue, the story of the trip one American Jewish woman took to Israel. She is somewhat ambivalent in her feelings about Israel, and is upfront about that, and one of the things we see in the book is her attempt to form solid opinions about the region and its conflicts. The tone stays one of a slightly introspective travelogue, not a weighty investigation of a difficult conflict, but one of the strengths of this book is how it shows the complexity inherent in any conflict that has centuries of history behind it. It also works as a straight-forward travel story: the places Pollack visits are interesting, and she describes them well.

Favorite Thing:
The way the author shows the complexity of the issues in the region via her tourist experiences
All of Us, We All Are Arameans book cover
Book Length:
Shorter
Part of Series:
Not part of a series
Stand Alone:
Yes
Stickiness:
High
Disclosures:
None
Author:

Nora Gallagher

I don't know what made me decide to download this book, but I'm glad I did. It is an insightful exploration of illness, faith, and what it means to really be well. The tone is gentle and humble and one of honest reflection. It does not read like a lecture, but like a conversation with a really thoughtful friend. I am not a religious person, and I probably never will be, but the discussion of faith in this book really spoke to me, and gave me more understanding of the role faith can play in people's lives. What will really stay with me, though, is the concept of aiming for true wellness in our lives, even if that cannot include being fully healthy.

Favorite Thing:
The concept of wellness being distinct from physical health.
Accompany Me book cover
Book Length:
Shortest
Part of Series:
Not part of a series
Stand Alone:
Yes
Stickiness:
High
Disclosures:
None
Author:

A.E. Ash

This is a sweet story, with an undercurrent of sadness, about a a lonely woman who gets an unexpected chance for companionship. The setting is a mostly empty planet that she is tasked with exploring, but to tell you much more would give away too much of the story. The writing is beautiful, and the story is short, so just read it and see for yourself!

Favorite Thing:
The writing
Luminous book cover, a mans face over an open plain
Book Length:
Shorter
Part of Series:
Not part of a series
Stand Alone:
Yes
Stickiness:
Moderate
Categories:
Disclosures:
None
Author:

Duncan McCue

This is a memoir of the author's season living in the deep Canadian bush, hunting and trapping. The story is well-written and engaging, and it alone would make this book worth your time. But this book is something more, too. The author is Anishinaabe, a member of the Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation in southern Ontario, and his time in the bush is spent with a James Bay Cree family. He weaves a discussion of the challenges facing First Nations youths and communities into the narrative, and uses his experiences to provide insight into these issues, which makes this a book you may find yourself thinking about long after you've finished it.

Favorite Thing:
The description of the hunting trip
The Shoe Boy book cover
Book Length:
Shorter
Part of Series:
Not part of a series
Stand Alone:
Yes
Stickiness:
High
Categories:
Disclosures:
None
Author:

S.J. Parris

This is a short mystery, set in a Dominican monastery in 16th century Naples. The mystery part is not particularly surprising, but the story is still enjoyable to read. The historical setting is well-drawn, the characters are interesting, and the writing moves you through the story even once you have guessed the ultimate outcome. It is great escapism, because it draws you completely into the the setting that is completely removed from our modern world. It is a short story related to a series of longer books, and it serves as a good advertisement for them, but also stands well on its own.

Favorite Thing:
The historical setting.
The Secret Dead book cover, a single monk on a white background.
Book Length:
Shorter
Part of Series:
Short story/novella related to a series of long books
Stand Alone:
Yes
Stickiness:
Moderate
Categories:
Disclosures:
None
Author:

Ellen Seltz

This is the second Mister Mottley short mystery I have read, and it is just as enjoyable as the first (Mister Mottley and the Key of D). It is a light-hearted and quick moving mystery set among the British upperclass in the 1930s. If you're looking for some fun distraction, the Mister Mottley mysteries deliver it. However, this particular mystery is very short, and light on character development. I'd recommend starting with Mister Mottley and the Key of D or one of the other slightly longer mysteries in the series. If you're already a fan of Mister Mottley, though, this one won't disappoint you.

Favorite Thing:
The light-hearted tone
Mister Mottley and the Kiss of Death book cover
Book Length:
Shortest
Part of Series:
Part of a series of short stories/novellas
Stand Alone:
Yes
Stickiness:
Low
Categories:
Disclosures:
None
Author:

Anna Mitchael

On the surface, this is a light-hearted story about a woman who moves to a ranch in rural Texas and has to overcome her fear of rattlesnakes. There is something a little deeper in it, too, though, because rattlesnakes are just the most obvious manifestation of her fears. There aren't necessarily any new insights about overcoming fear in the book, but it is an enjoyable read, and sometimes a slightly humorous reminder of how to handle fear is just what you need.

Favorite Thing:
The author's voice
Rattlesnake Stories book cover
Book Length:
Shorter
Part of Series:
Not part of a series
Stand Alone:
Yes
Stickiness:
Moderate
Disclosures:
None
Author:

Amanda Hamm

This enjoyable novella tells a first contact story, with the twist that the story is told twice. The first half of the book is the story from the viewpoint of the humans, and the second half is the story from the viewpoint of the extraterrestrial species that has crash landed in Antarctica. The second telling is not repetitive. Instead it expands and deepens the story, and answers some of the questions raised in the first telling.

Favorite Thing:
The retelling of the story from the extraterrestial's viewpoint
Zero Station book cover
Book Length:
Short
Part of Series:
Not part of a series
Stand Alone:
Yes
Stickiness:
Moderate
Categories:
Disclosures:
None
Author:

Manju Soni

This book is a well-executed blend of history and personal reflection about the end of apartheid. It covers the rise of the student movements that helped end it, and does not flinch from showing the cost paid by the participants in these movements. It is an engrossing read, and a reminder that while determined citizens can fight oppression, some of them will pay a terrible price for doing so.

Favorite Thing:
The look at the lives of the students who became activists
When Lions Roared
Book Length:
Short
Part of Series:
Not part of a series
Stand Alone:
Yes
Stickiness:
High
Categories:
Disclosures:
None

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