Category Archives: Marion’s Favorite Books

Marion’s favorite books that he has reviewed.

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 45: Eva Luna by Isabel Allende

“Words are free, she used to say, and she appropriated them; they were all hers.”

That sentence from early in the novel, Eva Luna, by Isabel Allende captures the spirit of her protagonist.  Eva Luna is a spinner of tales and the stories from growing up poor on the streets of an unnamed South American country (Peru comes to mind for me) to falling in love with men like Riad Halabi, the Turkish-born merchant with a heart of gold, to Humberto Naranjo, the streetwise kid who becomes a leader in the guerilla movement, and to Rolf Carle, a German immigrant photographer that captures the attempted revolution going on in the country, Eva gains plenty of material for her stories.

Allende creates a colorful life for Eva Luna, and I get the sense that she wrote this novel like she was in a passionate love affair.  The words flow easily and the story did not feel excessive or bloated.  It would be easy to dismiss a novel like this as an ode to the soap opera or telenovela.  However, Eva Luna shows through stories about how people connect and is a universal language for humanity.  Stories are the lifeblood for human experience and are just as important as food, water, and shelter.

It is always a pleasant sign that when you re-read a novel; you get the same emotional cues from the all places in the story where you are supposed too. You smile, laugh, gasp, and want the protagonist to get beyond the latest conflict in the story to a proper resolution.

Eva Luna was the first Isabel Allende I had ever read and still has remained my favorite.  I have read The House of The Spirits and Of Love & Shadows.  Allende has been definitely influenced by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, but I have always thought her storytelling style was much more accessible than his.   If you have never read an Allende novel, then I recommend Eva Luna as a marvelous place to start.  This will be one of my favorite reads of 2020.

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 42: Face of an Angel by Denise Chavez

Rereading a novel can bring different expectations from when you first read it over twenty-five years ago.  This is the case with Face of An Angel by Denise Chavez. Face of an Angel tells the story of Soveida Dosamantes, a waitress at El Farol Restaurant in the fictional New Mexican town of Agua Oscura.  Soveida… Continue Reading

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 39: Black Fortunes by Shomari Wills

  Black History Month has passed, and I had a plan to read three non-fiction books about black history during the month of February.  I finished Maurice White’s wonderful biography, My Life with Earth, Wind & Fire quickly and then I read Before The Mayflower by Lerone Bennett, Jr.  Bennett’s groundbreaking book chewed up the… Continue Reading

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 37: My Life with Earth, Wind & Fire by Maurice White

I was challenged recently by a blog reader to read and review more nonfiction books. I have read fiction books for most of my reading life. There were numerous reasons why I have gravitated towards novels instead nonfiction. However, I chose not to state those reasons in response and accepted their challenge. I have decided… Continue Reading

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 33: Jay-Z (Made In America) by Michael Eric Dyson

I love getting books as Christmas gifts especially from my 10-year-old daughter. This year’s Christmas gift is Jay-Z (Made In America) by Michael Eric Dyson. I will confess upfront that Jay-Z is not my favorite rapper and I have not listened to a lot of his music. My favorite rappers are Big Daddy Kane and… Continue Reading

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 32: A Time To Dance by Padma Venkatraman

One of the joys of reading is discovering a book (or author) you would have never come across in your normal reading experience. I will confess upfront that I’m not that much of a fan of YA novels. Reading about teenagers (or young adults) and their problems or issues does not move me as a… Continue Reading

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 31: Ascending by Meg Pechenick

What if you were the only person on a spaceship with an alien race? You were the person groomed to speak an alien language and take part in an intercultural exchange between planets? You would want to do it in the first place? If you did, how you feel about it? Excited? Optimistic? Groundbreaking? Or… Continue Reading