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32 minutes | Aug 10, 2022
The Willoughby by Lois Lowry
Convinced they'd be better off raising themselves, the Willoughby children hatch a sneaky plan to send their selfish parents on vacation. The siblings then embark on their own high-flying adventure to find the true meaning of family.
24 minutes | Jul 27, 2022
Passing by Nella Larsen
Set primarily in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City in the 1920s, the story centers on the reunion of two childhood friends—Clare Kendry and Irene Redfield—and their increasing fascination with each other's lives. The title refers to the practice of "racial passing" and is a key element of the novel. Clare Kendry's attempt to pass as white for her husband, John (Jack) Bellew, is a significant depiction in the novel and a catalyst for the tragic events.
35 minutes | Mar 16, 2022
Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty
Nine people from different walks of life attend a pricey 10-day "Mind and Body Total Transformation Retreat" at a place called the Tranquillum House run by a mysterious Russian woman named Masha. Throughout the course of their retreat, they realize that each of them is battling their own demons and all of them are subjects of an experiment.
38 minutes | Mar 3, 2022
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Thirteen Reasons Why is a young adult novel written by Jay Asher in 2007 that follows the story of Hannah Baker, a high school freshman, and the thirteen reasons why she commits suicide. Following her death, Hannah leaves behind 7 double-sided cassette tapes detailing the 13 specific people and events that she blames for her demise. Two weeks after her death, these cassette tapes are mailed out with directions to pass the tapes on to the next person on the tape. Hannah's life story is conveyed through these tapes, which are narrated by Hannah herself, and through the point of view of Clay, her classmate and the ninth person to receive the tapes. The inspiration behind the main character, Hannah Baker, comes from author Jay Asher's close relative who attempted suicide. Since the novel's publication in 2007, Thirteen Reasons Why has received much recognition. As of 2014 Thirteen Reasons Why had been a New York Times bestseller for over 3 years and published in multiple countries. The novel's success has also been met with backlash, becoming the third-most banned book in the United States between 2010 and 2019. Additionally, in March 2017 a Netflix original series was released based on the book.
32 minutes | Feb 2, 2022
Bridgerton - The Duke and I by Julia Quinn
Daphne Bridgerton, the fourth of eight siblings in her close-knit family, she has formed friendships with the most eligible young men in London. Everyone likes Daphne for her kindness and wit. But no one truly desires her. She is simply too deuced honest for that, too unwilling to play the romantic games that captivate gentlemen. Amiability is not a characteristic shared by Simon Basset, Duke of Hastings. Recently returned to England from abroad, he intends to shun both marriage and society—just as his callous father shunned Simon throughout his painful childhood. Yet an encounter with his best friend’s sister offers another option. If Daphne agrees to a fake courtship, Simon can deter the mamas who parade their daughters before him. Daphne, meanwhile, will see her prospects and her reputation soar. The plan works like a charm—at first. But amid the glittering, gossipy, cut-throat world of London’s elite, there is only one certainty: love ignores every rule.
31 minutes | Jan 19, 2022
Molly’s Game by Molly Bloom
Molly Bloom reveals how she built one of the most exclusive, high-stakes underground poker games in the world—an insider’s story of excess and danger, glamour and greed. In the late 2000s, Molly Bloom, a twentysomething petite brunette from Loveland Colorado, ran the highest stakes, most exclusive poker game Hollywood had ever seen—she was its mistress, its lion tamer, its agent, and its oxygen. Everyone wanted in, few were invited to play. Hundreds of millions of dollars were won and lost at her table. Molly’s game became the game for those in the know—celebrities, business moguls, and millionaires. Molly staged her games in palatial suites with beautiful views and exquisite amenities. She flew privately, dined at exclusive restaurants, hobnobbed with the heads of Hollywood studios, was courted by handsome leading men, and was privy to the world’s most delicious gossip until it all came crashing down around her. Molly’s Game is a behind-the-scenes look at Molly’s game, the life she created, the life she lost, and what she learned in the process.
30 minutes | Jan 5, 2022
Along Came A Spider by James Patterson
Alex Cross is a homicide detective with a Ph.D. in psychology. He works and lives in the ghettos of D. C. and looks like Muhammad Ali in his prime. He's a tough guy from a tough part of town who wears Harris Tweed jackets and likes to relax by banging out Gershwin tunes on his baby grand piano. But he also has two adorable kids of his own, and they are his own special vulnerabilities. Jezzie Flanagan is the first woman ever to hold a highly sensitive job as supervisor of the Secret Service in Washington. Blond, mysterious, seductive, she's got an outer shell that's as tough as it is beautiful. She rides her black BMW motorcycle at speeds of no less than 100 mph. What is she running from? What is her secret? Alex Cross and Jezzie Flanagan are about to have a forbidden love affair at the worst possible time for both of them. Because Gary Soneji, who wants to commit the "crime of the century," is playing at the top of his game. Soneji has outsmarted the FBI, the Secret Service, and the police. Who will be his next victim?
31 minutes | Dec 22, 2021
Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
The novel centers on 18-year-old Madeline Whittier, who is being treated for severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), also known as "bubble baby disease". Due to this, Madeline is kept inside her house in Los Angeles, where she lives with her mother, a doctor. The story follows 18-year-old Madeline Whittier a half Japanese, half African-American 18-year-old who is being treated by her doctor mother for severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), and therefore is not allowed to leave her house or interact with anything that has not been "sanitized". Her world consists of her mother Pauline, her nurse Carla, and the books she finds comfort in; with her father and brother having died a long time ago in a car accident. Maddy's life changes when a family moves in next door. She watches them from the window and learns that the family includes a father, mother, daughter named Kara, and a son named Olly. Olly befriends Maddy, and the two begin to message each other online. Meanwhile, Olly's father is abusive and Kara has a smoking problem.
30 minutes | Dec 8, 2021
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley,
Brave New World is a dystopian social science fiction novel by English author Aldous Huxley, written in 1931 and published in 1932. Largely set in a futuristic World State, whose citizens are environmentally engineered into an intelligence-based social hierarchy, the novel anticipates huge scientific advancements in reproductive technology, sleep-learning, psychological manipulation, and classical conditioning that are combined to make a dystopian society that is challenged by only a single individual: the story's protagonist.
27 minutes | Oct 13, 2021
Monster by Walter Dean Myers
The novel begins with 16-year-old Steve Harmon writing in his book awaiting his trial for murder. Musing on his short time in prison so far, he decides to record this upcoming experience in the form of a movie screenplay. Kathy O'Brien, Steve's lawyer, informs him of what will happen during the trial. At this stage, only two of the four accused – James King and Steve – will be tried, since the other two accused – Richard "Bobo" Evans and Osvaldo Cruz – have entered into a plea bargain. When the trial first begins, Steve flashes back to a movie he saw in his school's film of predictability. The trial begins with the opening statements of the prosecutor Sandra Petrocelli, Miss O'Brien, and King's lawyer, Asa Briggs. Petrocelli labels the four accused men, including Steve, as "monsters." The lawyers call on several witnesses, including Salvatore Zinzi and Wendell Bolden, illicit cigarette traders, who admit to buying cigarettes that came from a drugstore robbery that led to the murder. The story of the trial is often broken up by a variety of flashbacks, including ones showing that King is only acquainted with Steve, that King had accused Steve of pulling the trigger during the robbery. Petrocelli calls as a witness Osvaldo Cruz, who is affiliated with the Diablos, a violent street gang. Cruz admits to participating in the crime only due to coercion by Bobo. The novel depicts the themes of identity, race, peer pressure, dehumanization, crime, teenaged masculinity, and the relative or subjective nature of the truth.
20 minutes | May 26, 2021
To all the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them…all at once? Sixteen-year-old Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.
25 minutes | May 20, 2021
Breakfast at Tiffany‘s by Truman Capote
In autumn 1943, the unnamed narrator befriends Holly Golightly. The two are tenants in a brownstone apartment in Manhattan's Upper East Side. Holly (age 18–19) is a country girl turned New York café society, girl. As such, she has no job and lives by socializing with wealthy men, who take her to clubs and restaurants, and give her money and expensive presents; she hopes to marry one of them. According to Capote, Golightly is not a prostitute, but an "American geisha". Holly likes to shock people with carefully selected tidbits from her personal life or her outspoken viewpoints on various topics. Over the course of a year, she slowly reveals herself to the narrator, who finds himself quite fascinated by her curious lifestyle.
28 minutes | Apr 14, 2021
You Should Have Known by Jean Hanee Korelitz and the tv series The Undoing
Grace Reinhart Sachs is living the only life she ever wanted for herself. Devoted to her husband, a pediatric oncologist at a major cancer hospital, their young son Henry, and the patients she sees in her therapy practice, her days are full of familiar things: she lives in the very New York apartment in which she was raised, and sends Henry to the school she herself once attended. Dismayed by how women delude themselves, Grace is also the author of a book You Should Have Known, in which she cautions women to really hear what men are trying to tell them. But weeks before the book is published, a chasm opens in her own life: a violent death, a missing husband, and, in the place of a man Grace thought she knew, only an ongoing chain of terrible revelations. Left behind in the wake of a spreading and very public disaster and horrified by how she has failed to heed her own advice, Grace must dismantle one life and create another for her child and herself.
21 minutes | Mar 17, 2021
The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger
Andrea Sachs, a recent graduate of Brown University with a degree in English, moves to New York City with her best friend, Lily, a graduate student at Columbia. Andrea hopes to find a career in publishing and blankets the city with her résumé. She believes she'll be closer to her dream of working for The New Yorker if she can get a job in the magazine industry. She gets a surprise interview at the Elias-Clark Group and is hired as a junior assistant for Miranda Priestly, editor-in-chief of the fashion magazine Runway. Although she knows little of the fashion world, everyone tells her that "a million girls would die for [her] job." If she manages to work for Miranda for a year, people tell her, she can have her choice of jobs within the magazine industry.
19 minutes | Mar 10, 2021
Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly
Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Who Helped Win the Space Race is a 2016 nonfiction book written by Margot Lee Shetterly. Shetterly started working on the book in 2010. The book takes place from the 1930s through the 1960s when some viewed women as inferior to men. The biographical text follows the lives of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson, three mathematicians who worked as computers (then a job description) at NASA, during the space race. They overcame discrimination there, as women and as African Americans. Also featured is Christine Darden, who was the first African-American woman to be promoted into the Senior Executive Service for her work in researching supersonic flight and sonic booms.
30 minutes | Feb 17, 2021
The Goodlord Bird by James McBride
Henry Shackleford is a young slave living in the Kansas Territory in 1857 when the region is a battleground between anti- and pro-slavery forces. When John Brown, the legendary abolitionist, arrives in the area, an argument between Brown and Henry’s master quickly turns violent. Henry is forced to leave town—with Brown, who believes he’s a girl. Over the ensuing months, Henry—whom Brown nicknames Little Onion—conceals his true identity as he struggles to stay alive. Eventually, Little Onion finds himself with Brown at the historic raid on Harpers Ferry in 1859—one of the great catalysts for the Civil War. An absorbing mixture of history and imagination, and told with McBride’s meticulous eye for detail and character, The Good Lord Bird is both a rousing adventure and a moving exploration of identity and survival.
25 minutes | Jan 20, 2021
Enola Holmes Mysteries -The Case of the Missing Marquess by Nancy Springer
On Enola's fourteenth birthday, her mother disappears, and Sherlock and Mycroft, Enola's brothers, conclude that her mother voluntarily left. Enola is devastated but eventually discovers elaborate ciphers her mother wrote, which leads her to conclude that she left to live with the Romani people and escape Victorian society's confines. Enola finds that her mother left money to fund her escape. When the eldest Mycroft insists that Enola attend boarding school and learn to be a proper lady, she runs away to London instead. Horrified by her brothers' plans to send her to a boarding school and the prospect of wearing a corset, she escapes. Dressed as a widow, she runs across Inspector Lestrade, who is working on a case with Sherlock about the disappearance of a young Viscount, Lord Tewksbury. Nearly blowing her cover, she finds a secret hiding place that seems to be the young Viscount's hideaway. Concluding that he ran away, she sets off to look for him. Upon arriving in London, Enola discovers the city is not the magical place of her imagination. The same people who have kidnapped the Viscount, who has no street smarts, kidnap Enola. After escaping with the Viscount, she bribes a woman to buy them clothing. Hiding in a police station right under Sherlock's nose, Enola runs away, leaving only a sketch of the suspect on the bench. She sends a coded message via the personal column to her mother, who responds that she has gone to live with the Romani. The epilogue reveals that Enola has taken on two personas. To the poor, she's the mute "Sister," and to the rich, Ivy, the secretary to a private investigator.
35 minutes | Dec 23, 2020
Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff review of TV series adaptation
Atticus Turner, working in Florida after leaving the army, returns home to Chicago after receiving a mysterious letter from his estranged father, Montrose, saying he had left Chicago to go to Ardham, Massachusetts, where he believed he could find some information on Atticus' mother's family (previously unknown to them). Atticus, his uncle George, and his childhood friend Letitia drive to Ardham to find Montrose. They are chased, accosted, and later nearly murdered by racists on the way. Once at Ardham, they find a large manor house called Ardham Lodge. Atticus learns that he is the descendant of the Lodge's founder, Titus Braithwhite. Montrose is being held hostage, chained up in a basement. The current owner of the house, Samuel Braithwhite, is planning a ceremony with all of the members of his lodge (a sect of sorcerers called "The Order of the Ancient Dawn") during which he needs a Braithwhite descendant to be a conduit for some ancient power. Presumably, this will kill Atticus. Caleb Braithwhite (Samuel's only son) is also in attendance, and he secretly instructs Atticus with an incantation to say during the ceremony. Atticus does this, and it causes the unleashed power to consume Samuel and all the members of the lodge and turn them into dust while protecting Atticus. Caleb releases Atticus, George, Montrose, and Letitia and lets them leave to go back to Chicago. The story broken into distinct storylines with several themes such as Lovecraft Country, Dreams of the Which House, Abdullah's Book, Hippolyta Disturbs the Universe, Jekyll In Hyde Park, The Narrow House, Horace, and the Devil Doll, and The Mark Of Cain.
23 minutes | Dec 2, 2020
The Good Shepherd by C. S. Forester and review of the movie adaptation Greyhound
The hero of The Good Shepherd is Commander Krause, the captain of the fictional US Navy Mahan-class destroyer USS Keeling in World War II. Krause is in overall command of an escort force protecting an Atlantic convoy in the Battle of the Atlantic, shepherding it through the Mid-Atlantic gap where no antisubmarine aircraft are able to defend convoys. He finds himself in a difficult position. The voyage in question occurs early in 1942, shortly after the United States' entry into the war. Although he is a career Navy officer, with many years of seniority, this is Krause's first wartime mission. The captains of the other vessels in the escort group are junior to him in rank, and much younger, but they have been at war for over two years. The story covers 13 watches (52 hours) aboard the ship's bridge and is told in the third person entirely from Krause's point of view as he fights to save his ship, detailing his mood swings from his intense and focused excitement and awareness during combat to his resulting fatigue, depression, and self-doubt as his self-perceived inferiority and inexperience to the other captains under his command troubles him (although as the story progresses he is shown to be quite capable). He broods over his career and the wife who left him, partly because of his strict devotion to duty. He is troubled when the press of duty forces him to neglect his prayers (unlike most of Forester's other heroes, Krause is devout). He is troubled by recollections that the Navy review board had twice passed him over for promotion, returning a judgment of fitted and retained due to little or no opportunity in the prewar Navy. His promotion to Commander only came when the United States entered the war, leading him to fear that he may be unsuited to his command.
25 minutes | Nov 11, 2020
Sarah's Key, by Tatiana de Rosnay
Sarah's Key is a novel by Tatiana de Rosnay, first published in its French translation as Elle s'appelait Sarah in September 2006. Two main parallel plots are followed through the book. The first is that of ten-year-old Sarah Starzynski, a Jewish girl born in Paris, arrested with her parents during the Vel' d'Hiv Roundup. Before they go, she locks her four-year-old brother in a cupboard, thinking the family should be back in a few hours. The second plot follows Julia Jarmond, an American journalist living in Paris, who is asked to write an article in honor of the roundup's 60th anniversary.
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