Between the Covers: More Reviews from Our Staff

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Who Fears Death? by Nnedi Okorafor

I had trouble having to remind myself that Okorafor's story is based in a future dystopic Africa and not the present day. I came to realize that this was possibly because of how similar this future was to the realities of today's Africa. Okorafor pulls us deep inside a situation I'd hope most of us are aware of presently in the Congo and Sudan and I'm horrifyingly sure many other places. The acts and consequences of militarized and systematic rape and genocide. How it affects the victims, the families and the ones most often ignored by the media, the children produced from this violence. Children born and raised to be ashamed of their very existence at the expense of their mothers and fault of their fathers. Okorafor speaks of a possesion in the case of the soilders being led by their high yellow sorcerer and it reminds us of the prominent question we ask ourselves when we see the news, "What could possibly POSSESS these men to do such a thing?!?" In retrospect, this question aligned with this word only further sustains my belief that the magical/spiritual context of the book fluidly interwoven in the story takes away nothing from the actual message but manages to allow a deeper resonance in the main character's situation as well as of the country itself. I'm highly impressed with how Okorafor was able to do this. Overall this book wasn't just a good read, its a must read. -- Genevieve

Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt

When you work with young people, sometimes you experience burnout. You get annoyed by their loudness, their bad attitudes, and their immaturity. Then a book like this comes along and reminds you why you wanted to work with kids in the first place. Because every kid deserves a chance (or two, or three), and every kid deserves to have a least one grownup in their life who believes in them and wants the best for them. When you read the story of Doug Swieteck and the lives he touches and the people who help him, you'll be inspired to be that grownup for every kid you meet. It doesn't hurt that it's also funny as heck and deeply moving. Highly recommended. -- Meredith

Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

REALLY!!!!! I stayed up all night! This book is very creepy! I only read it all because it was my book club's selection. Now I'm going to have to discuss it with the group. -- Linda

Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome 

Three hypochondriacs venture out on the Thames for a fortnight's worth of camping, pleasure cruising, and utter chaos. Three Men in a Boat left me in stitches countless times, which is rather unfortunate since I completed the bulk of this novel in various public settings. But it was worth it; this is one of the finest comedic novels I've ever read, and it's well over a century old. I would gladly pass this one along to anyone--especially those who never made friends with Victorian-era British literature, and may harbor a certain degree of bias against the genre. Jerome actually uses this book to ridicule several literary conventions of his day. My only objections: the occasional choppy and/or unvarying sentence length may throw off one's readerly pace, and the novel itself is outlined in a sort of unvarying structure with scenes and reflections, scenes and reflections--rather reminiscent of watching a neverending train of boxcars. But these are minor quibbles. Jolly good fun. -- Claire

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