Multicultural

Akata Witch

By Nnedi Okorafor
5
Rated by admin
Jun 9, 2020

“Lesson one,” Anatov said. “And this is for all of you. Learn how to learn. Read between the lines. Know what to take and what to discard.”
― Nnedi Okorafor, Akata Witch


This young-adult culturally diverse fantasy, set within the modern times, centers on Sunny Nwazue, an adolescent born to Nigerian parents in the United States. A couple of years before our story begins, Sunny's family moved back to the Federal Republic of Nigeria, where our primary woman of steel currently lives with them just outside a tiny town. Sunny “confuse[s] people,” she explains in her own voice, not only thanks

American Dirt

By Cummins, Jeanine
5
Rated by Lisa H
Jan 23, 2020

Listed as one of the top 10 most anticipated books of 2020 by Goodreads members, American Dirt, by Jeanine Cummins tells the fictional story of Lydia and Luca, a mother and her young son, as they flee from Acapulco Mexico and attempt to cross the US border. Lydia’s journalist husband, Sebastian, publishes an expose about Javier, the head of the drug cartel, which causes all 16 members of their family to be brutally killed. Lydia is acquainted with Javier through her bookstore and knows she and her son were also supposed to die with the rest of her family. As Lydia and Luca journey north to

An Unkindness of Ghosts

By Rivers Solomon
5
Rated by Chris K.
Aug 22, 2018

I give An Unkindness of Ghosts a clear 5 stars for characters, worldbuilding, and social commentary. I would go with 4 stars for plotting and pacing. Though it certainly doesn't lack for excitement and intrigue, it reads a bit episodically, with an underlying emphasis on each episode illustrating an experience more than carefully crafting a narrative. But what they illustrate is powerful and significant.


"This isn't about how I feel, officer, and this isn't a personal matter. It's a Matildan matter. Our social order depends on our ethical order, and our ethical order depends on

Hate to Want You

By Alisha Rai
5
Rated by Hebah A.H.
Jun 29, 2018

I think I would have come around to romance novels years earlier if I had only realized how much angst could precede the genre's requisite happy endings. Hate To Want You nailed both angst and satisfaction.


This steamy tale follows Livvy and Nicholas, once-lovers separated by family disapproval and time, who find that years of miscommunications and misunderstandings loom as large as ever . . . but so does the sizzling chemistry between them. I started out feeling somewhat lukewarm toward the characters but had heard enough praise of Alisha Rai's books to keep me going. I was a little afraid

Behold the Dreamers

By Mbue, Imbolo
5
Rated by Kari E.
Apr 5, 2018

Behold the Dreamers tells the story of two different families who were brought together by the Lehman Brothers collapse. Jende and Neni Jonga emigrate from Cameroon, Africa to New York City with their young son, Liomi. Jende is a loyal chauffeur who does not talk about what he hears his boss say in the car. Jende is proud of the car he drives and his ability to support his family. Coming to America is everything Neni dreams of and more. The Edwards family give Neni a job helping out during the summer at their home in the Hamptons. Cindy Edwards is a socialite, nutritionist, and mother who says

Assassin's Creed: Origins

By Ubisoft
4
Rated by Rachel C.
Mar 3, 2018

The latest in the Assassin's Creed juggernaut, Origins (available for PS4 and XBoxOne) is immediately striking due to the sheer amount of pretty.  The vast expanses of desert, the detail in the cities, the shining pyramids, the stars in the sky...this game is gorgeous.  Happily, it's more than just a pretty face!


The controls are a little bit smoother in this iteration, although you'll still have moments of climbing the wall right next to the ladder you were intending to use.  After this many games, I'm fairly certain that's a feature by now, not a bug.  The weapons/armor system reminds me

Dec 8, 2017

As the follow up to Milk and Honey, I had low expectations for Rupi Kaur's second book, The Sun and Her Flowers. Having existed in the poetry community, I am familiar with the conflicting opinions about Kaur and her poetry. "Too simple," some say. "Fake deep," others say, rolling their eyes. Parodies sprung up across the internet, poking fun at Kaur's short, loaded style. However, many others nearly worshiped Kaur, resulting in her immediate climb to the top of The New York Times Bestseller list. Yet, I have stood on a middle ground, owning and dog-earing Milk and Honey, but also understanding

Wind River (DVD)

By Taylore Sheridan
5
Rated by Zachary C
Dec 3, 2017

On the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming, Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner) is a tracker and hunter of threatening wildlife on the reservation, protecting the people from dangerous animals. Cory finds the corpse of a teenage girl when patrolling the reservation. Young FBI agent Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen) is sent in to investigate. New, inexperienced, and idealistic, Jane is quickly in over her head trying to solve the murder while adjusting to the culture shift on an Indian reservation. Cory knows the land and the people of Wind River, and Jane enlists his help. To say more would start to

Léon the Professional

By Luc Besson
4
Rated by Scott S.
Oct 28, 2017

Léon: The Professional tells the story of a child-like hit man named Léon and his relationship with (and subsequent training of) a 12 year-old named Mathilda who is orphaned at the hands of insane, corrupt New York cop Norman Stansfield. It features that unique French mixture of absurdity and realism: In what world does a 12 year-old boldly shoot a handgun out of a window without consequence? How is that Léon and Mathilda's relationship is simultaneously creepy and sweet? How can a cop so violently corrupt as Stansfield not be in federal prison? This constant contradiction of everyday minutiae

Oct 14, 2017

We know the media story of the West African Ebola outbreak of 2014, but we don’t know the other story. Author, Dr. Steven Hatch focuses less on the virus itself, which was the subject of Hot Zone by Richard Preston, and instead focuses on stories of daily life under the stress of the epidemic. Less is mentioned about the specific symptoms, and more time is spent on the remarkable strength of those touched by the virus: those confirmed with it, those who help them, and everyone else affected by its contagion.


Inferno adds a steady voice to a subject that needs a calm and clear telling. That

The Buddha in the Attic

By Julie Otsuka
2
Rated by Sam S.
Jul 19, 2017

The Buddha in the Attic is a short novel depicting the lives and struggles of Japanese mail-order brides arriving in America in the years leading up to World War II. It is not one central story that follows a single character--or even a few. Instead, the author uses the first person plural narrative style (through the use of "we" and "our") to tell the stories of countless, mostly nameless women. The narrative begins on the boats, as the young girls share their dreams for the unknown future, and continues with their lives in America as they struggle to adapt to a new land and a new language

Persona 5 (PS4)

By ATLUS
4
Rated by Rachel C.
Jul 3, 2017

Have you ever wanted to execute a massive heist?  How about pretend to be a Japanese high schooler?  Explore Jungian psychology?  You're in luck!


This may be the fifth game in the Persona subseries of the Shin Megami Tensei games, but no prior knowledge is required (although it helps to catch references, and maybe a little foreshadowing).  You play as a student shipped off to big-city Tokyo from the country on criminal probation for assault, but you only find this out a little ways into the game, which begins in mid-heist.  You're quickly apprehended by police, informed that you were

Out of Darkness

By Ashley Hope Perez
5
Rated by Emily D.
Jun 30, 2017

Out of Darkness is a heartbreaking and powerful read. This is a story about racism, disaster, love and hope.


Naomi is a 17-year-old Mexican living with her half siblings and white stepfather in New London, Texas, in 1937. Naomi is in danger of her stepfather's wrath and abuse, but she'll do anything for her siblings.


Wash is a black teen who's been living with racism his whole life; he goes to a inferior black school while the white kids go to the state-of-the-art school down the road, and he's tired of keeping his eyes to the ground. Naomi and Wash fall in love. It's against the rules-

Oct 1, 2016

The title of Love, Loss and What We Ate is what sparked my interest: what could be more relatable? I knew nothing about Padma Lakshmi and didn’t even recognize her name. But it doesn’t matter; anyone can find aspects of her story engaging. She writes with honesty and simplicity about the events of her life. Although she has been a model, actress, foodie, and was even married to the likes of Salman Rushdie, we can relate to her tales of cooking, childhood, career moves, relationships, and motherhood. She writes with a curious blend of candor and self-consciousness, which is both endearing and a

Sep 28, 2016

Ah, if only I'd read this last summer or fall, sometime before my five-month-old was born, because I'm quite drawn to many of the ideas. Some I'd already claimed as my own, some were vague notions that have now been articulated and solidified for me, and some still feel rather surprising and foreign. I'm not one to unquestioningly adopt any model--parenting, leadership, eating, or what you will--without tweaking it and making it my own, but I believe considering and practicing these ideas will make me a more effective parent.


"Model" seems the best word I can think of to describe what

Jul 27, 2016

Habo is an albino, but where he lives in Tanzania, albinos are hunted because their body parts are thought to bring good luck. But soon he must leave his family, he is being hunted by a fearsome man with a machete willing to do anything to track him down.


Golden Boy is a thoughtful story about a current human rights issue. I had not really heard about albinism or the issues surrounding it until I read this book. I understood Habo's struggle to reject the lie so many were telling him and truly believe he is worth as much as anyone else, and then his frustration when the world wouldn't

Jan 28, 2016

In Broccoli and Other Tales of Food and Love, Lara Vapnyar brings the lives of recent immigrants to New York into crystal clear focus. Using the universal language of food, Vapnyar illustrates the sadness of Nina’s wilting marriage with the broccoli in her refrigerator; Sergey’s loneliness cured, not by companionship, but by Borscht; Katya crafts her memory of puffed rice and meatballs specifically for her lover’s entertainment.


In these, and other stories, Vapnyar illustrates both experiences unique to Russian immigrants, as well as those universally shared. It’s reminiscent of Will Eisner

A Thousand Nights

By E. K. Johnston
4
Rated by Dawna O.
Nov 30, 2015

Johnston weaves a beautiful tale of sisterhood and love, while re-creating the story A Thousand and One Nights. Similar to the original story, this is a desert setting and the king has taken 300 wives, one from each village, before coming to the village of our unnamed heroine. She asks her sister’s mother to help ready her for the king. She wants to take the focus off of her sister and offer herself to the king instead, in order to save her sister. She is swept away with the king, as he has chosen her, and taken to his palace. Each night the king comes to her to listen to her tell stories of

5 to 1

By Holly Bodger
4
Rated by Peggy H.
Oct 28, 2015

The year is 2054 and India has a ratio of 5 boys to 1 girl. Girls have now become valuable assets. To combat the selling of daughters to the highest bidder, a group of women have founded a closed country they named Koyanagar. In Koyanagar, young men are chosen to compete for a chance to marry a girl. It is now Sudasa's turn to witness the testing of five young men and then choose one to become her future husband. Sudasa does not want a husband, she does not want to marry and bear children. She wants the opportunity to decide her own future, but that's not an option for her at this time. 

When the Moon is Low

By Nadia Hashimi
2
Rated by Katie S.
Sep 27, 2015

Imagine that food is scarce, money is even scarcer, education is not an option for women and freedom of anything - speech, religion, choice - no longer exists. This is Afghanistan in the 1990s, the world in which Fereiba now lives and she is desperately seeking a way out. She grew up in a better time where she was able to go to school, teach and live a respectable but free life. She recounts her childhood and growing up in a middle-class family while remembering her first love and how heartbroken she was when he married her sister. But now she is married herself to a wonderful man who supports

The Art of War

By Sun, Tzu
5
Rated by Nancy B.
Jun 1, 2015

Often considered one of the best management strategy books of all time, The Art of War, by Tzu Sun, is as pertinent today as when it was compiled thousands of years ago. “Work smarter, not harder.” “The best battle is the one never fought.” “A boss says 'go.' A leader say’s 'let’s go.'” These sentiments are not new. The basis for each can be found in Tzu Sun’s writings. The Art of War applies to conflicts on all levels; from battlefields to board rooms. Sun stresses the virtues of patience, strategy and outthinking one’s opponents.


I picked The Art of War because it was short at 172 pages. 

May 30, 2015

Bless This Food is a collection of graces from many traditions - Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, etc. I came across this title in my quest to find dinner prayers that were more resonant with my family than the standard one I had been taught as a child or the simpler ones that I had prayed with my own children when they were younger.  Adrian Butash begins by beautifully describing the intimate relationship that humans have with food and the God or gods who are the source of that food and explains why saying grace and giving thanks is a universal phenomenon.  Bless This Food is

The Hundred-foot Journey

By Mirren, Helen
5
Rated by Melody M.K.
May 16, 2015

The movie The Hundred-foot Journey begins in India where an Indian family that loves cooking has a family restaurant. Touched by tragedy during a fire in their restaurant, the head of the family decides they should move to a new country. After some trial and error in finding just the right spot, they come to a lovely village in the south of France and happen upon an empty restaurant for sale. The sale is made and they begin restoration, moving in with not one thought of the 3-star French restaurant across the road from them. Then begins the lovely story of the Indian young man and the French

A Bollywood Affair

By Sonali Dev
4
Rated by Rachel N.
Jan 3, 2015

At the age of four, Mili was married to 12-year-old Virat Rathod. Now, twenty years later, Mili is still waiting for her husband to show up. In the meantime, Mili has traveled from India to Michigan in order to further her education to make herself a better wife. Little does she know, Virat has a life of his own. When that life is threatened, Virat sends his younger brother, Samir, to find Mili in America so she can sign papers annulling the marriage. However, the initial meeting between Samir and Mili does not go well and leaves each dependent on the other for reasons both transparent and

And the Mountains Echoed

By Khaled Hosseini
4
Rated by Debbie L.
Sep 20, 2014

Out of desperation, Saboor, who is a poor farmer in Afghanistan, sells his three year old daughter, Pari, to a wealthy couple living in Kabul. Pari's older brother, Abdullah, is completely distraught over the loss of his beloved sister. Pari grows up, not knowing or remembering her biological family, but a letter left for her by her deceased uncle reveals the details of the adoption and Pari is then able to search for the family she didn't know existed. A reunion occurs, but perhaps doesn't have the happy ending one might have hoped for. Hosseini is a wonderful storyteller. And the Mountains

Americanah

By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
4
Rated by Melody B.K.
Aug 18, 2014

This book is about love, racism, the immigrant experience and hair. Nigerian born Ifemelu arrives in America and blogs about her experiences as a non-American black person in the US. She leaves behind the love of her life, Obinze who has his own immigrant experience in England. In the end, she returns to Nigeria and to Obinze.

Jul 20, 2014

This memoir explores the life of Waris Dirie, recognized by many for her work as a model, and by others for her advocacy for human rights and a battle against female genital mutilation. The reader follows her from her early life as a nomad in the deserts of Somalia, to her difficult and sometimes dangerous journey to Mogadishu and eventually London. Working there as an underappreciated maid for her own family, she is "discovered", and sets off on an equally nomadic life as a model. Throughout her journey, Waris has to face the world with her own wits and tenacity. The best part of this story

Life in a Day

By DVD - 2001
5
Rated by Megan C.
Jul 15, 2014

This film is the perfect antidote to the evening news. Rather than dwelling on the grim or sensational, it magnifies the beauty of the quotidian as it follows a single day in the life of people all over the world. Not only visually stunning, it is also emotionally impacting to see the human race in all its variety and realize how different, and how very much the same, people can be.

Babies

By Thomas Balmès
4
Rated by Becky C.
Jul 10, 2014

Looking for a feel-good movie? Babies is a must-see documentary. Watch as four newborn babies from around the globe grow, learn, and love during their first year of life on this planet.


Each baby is born into a world full of different customs and opportunities, yet their universal humanity busts through cultural boundaries. Follow Ponijao from Namibia, Bayarjargal from Mongolia, Hattie from San Francisco, and Mari from Tokyo as each baby navigates his or her place in the world.


Whether it’s Ponijao sitting in the dirt pounding stones with his friend, Bayarjargal sharing his bathwater wit

Habibi

By Naomi Shihab Nye
4
Rated by Kate M.
Mar 20, 2014

The day after Liyana experiences her first kiss, her father announces that he is moving the family from St. Louis, to his birthplace, Jerusalem. Liyana leaves everything she knows behind, and everything that won't fit in a few boxes and embarks on an adventure to experience a different kind of life.


In Jerusalem there are no white picket fences, or green lawns. Her father works as a doctor in a hospital, her mother stays home and Liyana and her brother are sent to different schools. Liyana carefully dips her toes in the sights, sounds, smells and tastes around her, soaking up the new