Book Reviews

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
August 2019
Reviewed by: Liz Cole

 

 

 

 

 

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones is an intimate look at love, loss, race, justice, and what it means to be human.  Young married couple Roy and Celestial seem to have it all on the surface – they are young, in love, and pursuing their dreams in Atlanta when a trip to visit family takes it all away from them.  With Roy wrongfully imprisoned, they must navigate the physical and emotional separation that comes with incarceration and release, and what the phrase "time stands still for no man" truly means. 

An American Marriage is a fast, compelling read.  Jones' writing is sooth, engaging, and driven: while most books have a lull in their arc, An American Marriage kept a solid pace for its duration.  Jones is also masterful at developing her characters; through letters and first person narration, the full range of the human experience is delivered by Jones' characters.  While set in contemporary times, this story is truly transcendental – how does a person go on when life has been brought to an abrupt halt, and does the passing of time heal old wounds, or create new ones? 

This book was named as an Oprah's Book Club selection in 2018.  Tayari Jones is the author of several other books, including Silver Sparrow, Atlanta Noir, and the The UntellingAn American Marriage was selected as 2018 "Best of the Year" selections by NPR; TIME; Bustle; O, The Oprah Magazine; The Dallas Morning News; and Amazon.com. 

 

How to Break Up With Your Phone: the 30 Day Plan to Take Back Your Life by Catherine Price
August 2019
Reviewed by: Alyssa McIntyre

 

 

 

 

 

 

I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone who currently owns and operates, or plans to own and operate, a smart phone!  

In this day and age, our phones rule, or typically play some role in, almost every aspect of our lives and yet, rarely do we pause to think about what kind of impact all that activity is having on our brains, our relationships, our overall health, or on our development as people and a culture.  

The statistics presented in this book are scary and eye opening!  It truly makes you want to follow her suggestions to ultimately redefine the how, when, and what for  of our relationships with our devices. 

 

Great Gluten-Free Vegan Eats from Around the World by Allyson Kramer
August 2019
Reviewed by: Erin Brumagin

 

 

 

 

 

 

The author, Allyson Kramer, masterfully weaves an international tapestry of flavors into the pages of Great Gluten-Free Vegan Eats From Around the World.  The book is regionally organized by continent and the author knowledgeably relays the cultural significance of the cuisine presented in every chapter.  Each recipe presented is prefaced and concluded with tips for procuring and selecting ingredients that may not be familiar to the reader, recommendations for preparing, eating, and/or serving the meal, detailed descriptions of the texture and flavors of the dish, and/or cultural-specific background on the foods presented. These useful and interesting components demonstrate the author's familiarity with and mastery of each entree and enhance the reader's desire to make the recipe for him/herself.  The author inclues detailed instructions on how to successfully prepare each dish, thoroughly bolstering the reader's confidence in his/her ability to recreate the cuisine presented. 

This cookbook is suitable and useful for cooks of varying abilities and diets from across the globe.  It is written using both metric and imperial measuring systems.  It entices cooks of all abilities, although it may not be realistic for the average or inexperienced cook.  The ingredients required may be difficult and/or expensive to procure, and newer cooks may be intimidated by the process, however the author provides adequate information and tips that should sufficiently encourage any cook to attempt the recipes. I am personally not familiar with gluten-free vegan recipes to comment on how it compares to others of that category, but to my untrained palate, it appears to be a useful, comprehensive book for those who have chosen to eat a vegan diet, as well as advantageous for those desiring to add some healthy options to their meals. 

Although some of the recipes require a significant time commitment due to the soaking, chilling, cooling, and/or resting steps involved, overall this is a well-researched and tested, culturally-authentic international cookbook that will tempt the taste buds of its readers while fully immersing them in the aura of each dish's country of origin.