First, feel for Steven Kraan’s Lonely Circle.
Then, in the latest The Last Book I Loved, Chris Kubica shares his affection for Krabat, by the Czech writer Otfried Preußler. The story of an adventurous boy who discovers a mysterious, magical grain mill appealed deeply to the 9-year-old Kubica. Kubica’s relationship with his former 4th grade teacher enriches a heartwarming story that ends on a decidedly Preußler-esque note of suspense.
And in a review of Citizen: An American Lyric, Shaelyn Smith fixes Claudia Rankine’s book in the context of Ferguson, Missouri and Trayvon Martin. Rankine demands that readers step into a world of “helplessness” and “privilege.” Personal memories are juxtaposed with cultural ones. “We must all serve as witnesses,” Smith writes. “We must all answer to the responsibility of self as citizen.”
Finally, the indomitable Emily Rapp offers a beautifully searching Sunday Essay (the last edited by Gina Frangello!) about Frida Kahlo and the inadequacy of the phrase ‘limb loss’ as a term for describing this traumatic experience. Rapp writes: “People who go through a crucible experience and shout from a mountaintop that the world is suddenly wonderful are liars.” The “powerful, complicated grace” of Frida Kahlo suffuses Rapp’s exploration of the static pain of the amputee.