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To Be Read Challenge Book Reviews

This page contains an archive of book reviews submitted by participants of the To Be Read Challenge.


By Neal Stephenson

I have a poly-cosmos of thoughts about this book. Through much of it, it felt the author was far to impressed with his own cleverness. At the end, though, I could see how the cleverness actually did work in the context of the narrative, but that didn’t fully wash away my annoyance. Much of the […]

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The Patron Saint of Liars

By Ann Patchett

After reading “Bel Canto” for an earlier TBR challenge, I wanted to go back and read some of Patchett’s earlier books. This novel begins in the 1960s at a home for unwed mothers — St. Elizabeth’s — run by a group of nuns. Rose, a pregnant, devout Catholic, travels to the Kentucky refuge from California, […]

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By Vladimir Nabokov

Almost as interesting to me as the book’s themes and Nabokov’s dazzling technique is the mystery of how I avoided it for several decades. I mean, it didn’t need any help in the allure department. But now that I am in full reverence mode for VN—reading his letters, poems, anything by and about the master—I […]

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Prodigal Summer

By Barbara Kingsolver

I loved this book! In 2002 I attempted to read the book and never got past Chapter One. I am a huge fan of Kingsolver’s other works – The Bean Trees, Pigs in Heaven, The Poisonwood Bible, The Lacuna – so I really wanted to give Prodigal Summer another try. I’m not sure what changed, […]

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The Piano Teacher

By Janice Lee

Set in Hong Kong during 1953 with flashbacks to WWII, the novel tracks the experience of European ex-pats in an exotic setting. The business day runs from 10 am-4 pm with a 2 hour lunch. However, when the Japanese invade and occupy the island, many of the Europeans find themselves interned. Chinese and Eurasians on […]

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By John Lewis

March: Book One details the autobiography of Congressman John Lewis in graphic novel form, which is a brilliant format to reach younger generations. The Durham Reads book for October, 2014. Great choice! Find in Catalog

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Dear White America

By Tim Wise

Tim Wise debunks myths about race and poverty. He does delve into sexism, too, but more could have been said. Wise has crafted a very well-written, well-researched book with an extensive end note section. A must-read. This is a United Methodist Women reading program book from the social action shelf and is part of the […]

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Stravinsky Seen and Heard

By Hans Keller and Milein Cosman

This small but substantial book begins with the “heard” part of the title, with Keller writing about Stravinsky’s embracing of serial technique after years of being vocally anti-Schoenberg. Keller draws on his deep training in psychoanalysis to investigate elements in Stravinsky’s creative character that made this change possible. The “seen” part of the book is […]

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