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  • Heaven, My Home jacket
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  • His Only Wife jacket
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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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Review

The Standardization of Demoralization Procedures

The title of Jennifer Hofmann's perceptive debut novel with its bureaucratese strongly suggests a satire in the vein of Kafka or Dostoevsky, and there are certainly elements of humor and incisive critique within its pages. The protagonist is a surveillance agent for East Germany's secret police, the...

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Beyond the Book

Berlin-Hohenschönhausen Prison

At the end of World War II, Germany was divided into four occupation zones governed by France, Great Britain, the United States and the Soviet Union. In 1949, the German Democratic Republic (GDR), also referred to as East Germany, was formed as a communist state in the Soviet territory. The most...

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Review

His Only Wife

21-year-old Afi is a talented Ghanaian seamstress eager to study fashion design, but her life is upturned when her mother agrees to an arranged marriage with a virtual stranger, the son of a wealthy local businesswoman, on her behalf. Afi is whisked from her small town and placed in a luxury ...

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Beyond the Book

Contemporary Ghanaian Women Writers

In her novel His Only Wife, Peace Adzo Medie captures the clash of tradition and modernity in present day Ghana. Medie belongs to a long line of talented women writers who show the country's rich culture and history to be bountiful sources of inspiration. Here are just a few of the most exciting ...

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