Book Review

Book Review: Troubling Love by Elena Ferrante

I am a huge fan of Elena Ferrante, the Italian novelist whose true identity isn’t publicly known and who has written some of the most interesting pieces of contemporary domestic fiction. Ferrante is best known for her Neapolitan Quartet (which is fabulous and is being adapted by HBO). Recently, however, I had the opportunity to read one of her stand-alone novels Troubling Love.


In Troubling Love, after a personal tragedy befalls the main character Delia, she returns to her native Naples to discover long lost secrets about her family. What follows is a fascinating self-discovery which explores the themes of love, loss, and the true meaning of family. I devoured this one in just two sittings (it’s only 139 pages long), but so much insight was packed into this thin novel. Between the heartbreaking emotions and the amazing setting details, this was such a richly rewarding book.

I am so intrigued by Ferrante and the mystery surrounding her. She’s been quoted, “I believe that books, once written, have no need of their authors.” Still, her anonymity combined with the power of her prose makes me want to know more about her as a human being. Maybe it’s because I’m also an author, so while I agree with her quotation, I also feel that there’s some inextricable bond between an writer and her words.

Book Review

Book Review: One Hundred Years of Solitude 

Recently, in my MFA program, I took a magical realism literature course where I was required to read One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I had never read anything by Marquez, although he has been on my to-read list for quite some time. I found that reading this book was an absolutely magical experience and I’m so glad that I finally had a chance to explore this great author’s work.


Magical Realism is an interesting genre. It’s very prevalent in South American literature, although it pops up in a lot of cultures. The trademark of magical realism is in its own name: it is realistic (often literary) fiction that focuses on the real world, however it contains elements of magic. It often has a feeling of folklore and fable which makes it seem almost timeless. Other notable works of magical realism are The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende, Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami, and Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie.

One Hundred Years of Solitude takes place in the fictional land of Macondo, a place colonized by weary travelers who decide to stay and create their own haven. However, as time goes by, this seemingly perfect paradise becomes corrupted by the encroaching world around it. Macondo acts as a sort of “Garden of Eden” and there are many Biblical allusions in this book, another staple of South American literature. The large cast of characters intersect in their parable-like stories that show different forms of frailty in human nature. Peppered with visits by a God-like character who seems to know everything before it happens, this is a truly magical tale of humanity, magic, and the circle of life and culture. I definitely recommend it!


Book Review

Best Books of 2016!

To be completely honest, I felt like I didn’t read as many masterpieces in 2016 as I have in previous years. I had several readings slumps where I just didn’t like anything, but some gems did still appear! Here are the top 7 books I read in 2016:

1. The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney


This contemporary fiction novel follows the lives of four siblings who have to restructure their lives after the nest egg that they were expecting is suddenly threatened. Read my full review here!

2. Peach Pies & Alibis by Ellery Adams


This is the second book in this cozy mystery series which centers around a witch who bakes magical goodies. It’s a fun bit of fluff that I found more engrossing than the average cozy mystery.

3. Love Your Enemies by Sharon Salzberg


I’m sure we all have that one person in life who grates our nerves. This self-help nonfiction book helped me change my perspective and find compassion instead of irritation.

4. The White Magic Five and Dime by Steve Hockensmith


This was a great mystery about a tarot-card reading con artist who has to solve her mother’s murder while considering whether or not she’s making the right choices in life.

5. Girl Online by Zoe Sugg


This was such a fun bit of YA fiction. It centers around an anxiety-ridden blogger whose worst fears are realized when her online persona becomes public.

6. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini


I know I’m late to the party on this one, but I love it. This one is historical fiction about a family in Afghanistan. It was heartbreaking but beautiful.

7. Murphy’s Law by Rhys Bowen


I really enjoyed this book that launched a historical cozy mystery series about an Irish immigrant. I appreciated that, while still cozy in tone, the series has been dealing with a few darker issues. I’ve only read the first three books so far, but I’m very curious to see where everything is headed.

I’m very excited for 2017! I have a lot of reading and writing goals, and I hope I’m able to share some great content with all of you. Have a lovely rest of your 2016!