A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

Review Summary  In Tokyo, sixteen-year-old Nao has decided there’s only one escape from her aching loneliness and her classmates’ bullying, but before she ends it all, Nao plans to document the life of her great-grandmother, a Buddhist nun who’s lived more than a century. A diary is Nao’s only solace—and will touch lives in a …

The Lake by Banana Yoshimoto

Summary [The Lake] tells the tale of a young woman who moves to Tokyo after the death of her mother, hoping to get over her grief and start a career as a graphic artist. She finds herself spending too much time staring out her window, though … until she realizes she’s gotten used to seeing …

In the Language of Miracles by Rajia Hassib

Review   Summary Samir and Nagla Al-Menshawy appear to have attained the American dream. After immigrating to the United States from Egypt, Samir successfully works his way through a residency and launches his own medical practice as Nagla tends to their firstborn, Hosaam, in the cramped quarters of a small apartment. Soon the growing family …

Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

Review   Summary For over a decade, Jenna Metcalf obsesses on her vanished mom Alice. Jenna searches online, rereads journals of the scientist who studied grief among elephants. Two unlikely allies are Serenity Jones, psychic for missing people who doubts her gift, and Virgil Stanhope, jaded PI who originally investigated cases of Alice and her …

The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng

Review Summary As you settle into the first page of The Garden of Evening Mists, Tan Twan Eng and his majestic prose will gently transport you into a painfully beautiful past. It’s Malaya, 1949. After studying law at Cambridge and time spent helping to prosecute Japanese war criminals, Yun Ling Teoh, herself the scarred lone survivor of …

Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danticat

First off, I should make clear that this is an audiobook review. I usually don’t review audiobooks, because so much of how they come off depends on the narrator. I usually prefer to let the prose speak for itself and/or through my imagination. But I needed something to listen to while I work out and …

The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin

I know what you’re thinking: “But Elise, this is a children’s book! Why would you put this on a blog for adults? What could we possibly find in a book meant for 11 year olds?” Hold you horses, people, cause it turns out we can learn a whole hell of a lot from well-written children’s …

Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri

Unaccustomed Earth is a collection of complex and subtly woven short stories. Ever the master of bringing to light the elusive complexity of the family bond, Lahiri reveals the intricacies of family history, parenting, love, loss and the pressures of immigration. Reminiscent of The Namesake, both in style and in subject matter, we are carried …

The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan

Loosely based on Scottish folktales, The Gracekeepers is an enchanting and haunting tale of two women trying to make peace with themselves and the world. After most of the land on Earth is covered by water, society stratifies into those who own land on the remaining archipelagos and those who live at sea, known as …

A Fall of Marigolds, by Susan Meissner

In many ways, A Fall of Marigolds is reminiscent of Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier, only it has fewer layers and less depth. The story follows a beautiful patterned scarf, which is associated with love, loss and courage for two women separated by 100 years. Taryn, a single mother living in New …