Kevin Zepper, an associate professor at Minnesota State University Moorhead, has published a new collection of poems, I Bring You Dead Things. It inspired me to write a review using his style. To read it, go to The Book Bag: www.bookbag.areavoices.com
My favorite stories tend to stalk me. They creep into my consciousness at odd moments of the day, every day, for months or even years after the initial reading. They surprise me, the way they linger.
Sheila O’Connor’s Where No Gods Came is not one of these stories.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed reading the Minnesota Book Award winner when I was in the process. Where No Gods Came is a coming-of-age story set first, briefly, in San Diego, but then moves to Minneapolis. Faina (don’t ask me how to pronounce that) is the coming-of-ager in question, packed up and shipped, against her will, to live with her estranged, vodka-dependent mother Lenore. Mother-daughter roles quickly reverse due to Lenore’s neediness and inability to function outside their small apartment.
Meanwhile, older sister Cammie, the daughter Lenore selected in the divorce, lurks in the wings. Lenore’s previous dependence on her has idolized Cammie thoroughly, so when we finally meet this thieving woman-child, it only reinforces our perceptions of Lenore’s absence of reality. Faina may be young and Cammie’s a border-line prostitute, yet it’s not the young girls in this story that need guidance—it’s the mother….
Read more at http://truththroughfiction.areavoices.com/2011/12/21/i-got-tired-of-waiting/
In Esther Allen Peterson’s second book, the Ytterhorn family and their new neighbors have only a few months to prepare for their first Dakota winter. Although I was less than glowing in my review of the first book, I found this one strangely endearing. Read my full review here: http://covertocover.areavoices.com/2011/12/09/will-spring-come/
“Missing Maggie” is a little like a Nicholas Sparks novel: You know what’s going to happen, but you have to read it to see how it plays out. Writer Jennifer Davidson has all the elements of a good story; now it just needs a little polishing to make it great.
Read the rest of the review by Gail Gabrielson at The Book Bag, http://bookbag.areavoices.com/2011/11/10/missing-maggie-is-missing-a-little-polish/.
The East Coast has author Janet Evanovich and her snappy fictional sleuth, Stephanie Plum. Minnesota can now claim author Jess Lourey and her witty librarian/reporter, Mira James who stars in the Murder-by-Month series which started with “May Day,” “June Bug” and “Knee High by the Fourth of July.”
For the full review, go to The Book Bag at www.bookbag.areavoices.com.
I’m not a huge fan of science fiction, and I can’t say I’ve read a lot of it, but I do recognize a good story well told. Rex “Skip” Evans Wood of Moorhead combines suspense, conspiracy, time travel and a little romance in “Truitt’s Fix.” Read another review of this novel at www.bookbag.areavoices.com .
Larry Woiwode’s newest book, “Words Made Fresh,” should come with a suggested reading list: anything by John Updike, anything by John Gardner and everything by Wendell Berry. That should keep you busy for a while. Read the entire review at The Book Bag: http://bookbag.areavoices.com/
Moonshine, gangsters, multiple murders…what else could you want in a book set in the 1920’s? All of these pop up in Dorie LaValle, but Mary DesJarlais is more interested in other aspects of the story.
Read my full review here: http://covertocover.areavoices.com/2011/09/18/dorie-lavalle/
I Am Hutterite is the memoir of a woman who grew up in a Hutterite colony, only to leave as an adolescent when her parents decided to leave for the outside world.
It was both educational and poignant. Kirkby not only describes growing up in the colony, she also details her struggle to adapt to her new “English” world.
Read my full review at http://covertocover.areavoices.com/.
Umpire in a Skirt is a short book children’s book by Marilyn Kratz, illustrated by Hector Curriel. It retells the life of Amanda Clement, the first paid female baseball umpire, and her amazing story.
Read the rest of the review at http://fmlocalbooks.areavoices.com/