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Review

All the Devils Are Here

In Louise Penny's All the Devils Are Here, the 16th book in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series, readers find Gamache and his wife, Reine-Marie, in Paris for the imminent birth of their fourth grandchild. Celebrating with them are their two adult children and their spouses (all of whom are now...

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Beyond the Book

The Musée Rodin

Several important scenes in Louise Penny's mystery, All the Devils Are Here, take place in the gardens of the Musée Rodin. Located in Paris, just south of the River Seine and about a mile east of the Eiffel Tower, the museum and its grounds boast thousands of Auguste Rodin's sculptures, ...

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Review

A Girl is A Body of Water

First Impressions readers were fascinated by A Girl Is a Body of Water, a riveting and nuanced novel set in Uganda, awarding it an average score of 4.5 out of 5 stars.

What it's about:

Kirabo is a 'special child.' She was born with 'the original state' inside her, a consciousness going back...

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Beyond the Book

Women in Uganda

In A Girl is a Body of Water, set in the 1970s-'80s, Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi presents a compelling protagonist named Kirabo who is coming of age in Uganda and learning what it means to be a woman from her grandmother, aunts and other women in her village. Like most cultures, Ugandan society is ...

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Review

Heaven, My Home

Attica Locke's 2017 novel Bluebird, Bluebird introduced us to Texas Ranger Darren Mathews, who became embroiled in a complex small-town drama while investigating a possible hate crime. Heaven, My Home, the second installment in the series starring the Ranger, weaves an even more intricate location-...

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Beyond the Book

Caddo Lake

Caddo Lake and its surrounding wetlands cover approximately 26,000 acres on the Texas-Louisiana border. It's the only naturally-formed lake in Texas, and it's also significant for its large size and unique biodiversity. Known for natural beauty, including its trademark giant cypress trees and ...

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Review

Transcendent Kingdom

Yaa Gyasi's (pronounced "yah jessie") Transcendent Kingdom is, among other things, a meditation on science and religion. However, this cursory description doesn't do justice to the full contents of the novel any more than the scientific method encompasses the human quest for knowledge, or than the ...

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Beyond the Book

Gerard Manley Hopkins

In Yaa Gyasi's Transcendent Kingdom, Gifty, a PhD student of neuroscience, recalls a college course she took to fulfill a humanities requirement that focused on the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins. While Gifty didn't care for Hopkins' poetry, she felt a 'strange sense of kinship' with the man ...

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Review

We Are Not Free

Author Traci Chee is best known for her young adult fantasy trilogy, The Reader series. We Are Not Free is a complete departure from that genre, with a setting and characters close to her heart and history. In this novel, which begins in 1942, 14 Japanese American teenagers are ripped from their ...

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Beyond the Book

The U.S. 442nd Infantry Regiment

In Traci Chee's young adult historical novel We Are Not Free, which follows 14 Japanese American teens from San Francisco through World War II, two young men in Topaz detention camp, Mas and Twitchy, decide to volunteer for the army. Japanese American men were unable to serve until early 1943; the ...

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