Vivid Cast of Characters: Book Club Roundup

By

Deborah Baker‘s The Convert made the review rounds this week: the LA TimesForbesWashington Post, and Kirkus Reviews all posted critiques of this peculiar and intriguing book. “The story of Maryam Jameelah is an extraordinary but painfully confused true tale,” writes WaPo‘s Pamela Constable. “Having romanticized Islam from afar and imagined it as a secure, all-embracing escape from human foibles and fears, she instead found herself clashing with the cultural expectations, personal conflicts and political feuds of an alien society that viewed her with a mixture of suspicion and awe.”

The Sf Chroniclereviews Jim Shepard‘s You Think That’s Bad: “Each one of these 11 stories stands out for its masterly fusion of technique and subject.” The short story collection also made the Long Beach Press-Telegram’s “10 Summer Books that Cry Out for a Read” list.

Bookforum posts a video of the messiah protagonist from Adam Levin‘s The Instructions making a deadly weapon in a kitchen.

Daniel Orozco creates the soundtrack accompaniment to his collection, Orientation, on Largehearted Boy.

Paste admires Lidia Yuknavitch‘s Chronology of Water, observing that the narrativetakes place entirely off-shore, metaphorically speaking. Nothing about her life has followed the map.”

Washington Post reviews Tayari JonesSilver Sparrow: “Populating this absorbing novel is a vivid cast of characters, each with his own story.”

L Magazine’s “Questionnaire for Writer Types” approaches Tracy K. Smith, author of the poetry collection Life on Mars, asking her: “Have you ever written anything that you’d like to take back?”


Maddie Oatman has interviewed musicians and writers for The Rumpus. She's the research editor at Mother Jones, where she also writes. A Boulder transplant, she can often be found on her bike, skis, or cooking with vegetables, and she wrote her English thesis on a gay red-winged monster and Billy the Kid. Follow her on Twitter or read occasional musings on her blog Oats. More from this author →