Tag Archives: Book Reviews

Marion’s Favorites: Marion’s Favorite Reads of 2020

2020 is mercifully coming to a close, and it has been probably one of the most challenging years that I can remember.  A global pandemic.  A contentious American presidential election.  Big time celebrity deaths. So on and so on.  Reading has been choppy.  However, I read fifty books this year.  Here are my favorite reads of 2020 (click on the link to read the full review):

  1. Eva Luna by Isabel Allende: The story of Eva Luna, a dazzling storyteller, that chronicles her journey in an unnamed South American country and reveals a fascinating life.  A great escape read for these times.
  2. Alburquerque by Rudolfo Anaya: This is the late Rudolfo Anaya’s (Rest In Love) wonderful tribute to his hometown (A city I lived in for 5 years) and the dynamics of its tri-cultural heritage: Hispanic, Native American, & Anglo.  Readers know Anaya for his modern classic Bless Me Ultima.  However, I believe Alburquerque should be read as well.
  3. Face of An Angel by Denise Chavez: This fictional memoir of Soveida Dosamantes, a waitress at El Farol Restaurant in the sleepy, southern New Mexican town of Agua Oscura, is a touching tale that captures a slice of an American tale that rarely gets told.
  4. Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibanez: An excellent YA fantasy novel that draws inspiration from Bolivian politics, history, and mythology.  I really enjoyed reading this one and looking forward to the upcoming sequel, Written in Starlight.
  5. The Ancient Child by N. Scott Momaday: This is a coming-of-age story of Locke Setman, a Kiowa man that was raised away from the reservation. He is drawn back to the reservation and his life changes unpredictably.
  6. The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa: I read this one for Women In Translation month back in August. A surprising story about the connection between a housekeeper and an eccentric professor.
  7. The Spectator Bird by Wallace Stegner: I have finally read a Wallace Stegner novel!  He had been on my list for a while to read. This one is considered a minor novel in his body of work.  But the story of literary agent Joe Allison’s past comes to life when he receives a postcard from Denmark.
  8. White Pages by Ran Walker: This is the story of novelist Kamal Jackson as he reaches a crossroads in his career. He attempts to publish his latest novel but as a white man from Mississippi instead of who he is a black man from Brooklyn.  Walker provides a sharp commentary on the Big 5 publishing industry and how it affects black writers.
  9. My Life with Earth, Wind, Fire by Maurice White: Earth, Wind, & Fire is one of my favorite musical groups and reading about bandleader Maurice White’s life and how he put the group together was fascinating.  A must for EWF fans!
  10. Black Fortunes by Shomari Wills: My non-fiction book of the year.  Wills tells the story of six black millionaires of the pre-civil rights era and how they could become wealthy and navigate the blatant racism of the day.  This book should be taught in high schools and colleges throughout America.

Those are my favorite reads of the year!  Looking forward to a better year in 2021.

Book Review 37: Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

“For me writing has always felt like praying.” “Adulthood is a wonderful thing, and brief. You must be sure to enjoy it while it lasts.” Those touching, powerful quotes are from Minister John Ames, the protagonist of Gilead by Marilynne Robinson. Gilead tells his story in letter form to his young son about his life… Continue Reading

Wisdom of Kammbia 3.16: Do Book Endorsements Actually Convince You To Buy A Book?

“I loved BAG of BONES. It’s Stephen King for the new millennium, with all the heart and wit showing through the suspense.” (Anne Rivers Siddons on Bag of Bones by Stephen King) “Greg Bear’s most ambitious novel yet…..an extremely dense and complex work about nothing less than the nature of consciousness.” (Washington Post Book World on… Continue Reading