Category Archives: 21st century literature

Suddenly, a Knock on the Door

“You want a knock on the door? Okay, have your knock on the door. Just so long as it brings us a story.” Suddenly a Knock on the Door is a collection of short stories by Etgar Keret. These stories are funny, absurd and occasionally heart-wrenching. I first heard about this book on the This …

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Amy Falls Down

“I am here accidentally and just for the moment.” In Amy Falls Down by Jincy Willett, author and teacher Amy Gallup falls and hits her head on a birdbath. She is left with a mild concussion, but decides not to seek medical help until after her interview that afternoon. The interview, which makes her seem …

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The Ladies of Grace Adieu (and Other Stories)

“Little human child, the time has come to be afraid.” The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories is a collection of short stories by Susanna Clarke, the author of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. Clarke uses the same setting (England) and theme (magic) of that novel to write these, although not all of her  …

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The Use and Abuse of Literature

“The future importance of literary studies–and, if we care about such things, its intellectual and cultural prestige both among the other disciplines and in the world–will come from taking risks, not from playing it safe.” In The Use and Abuse of Literature, Harvard professor Marjorie Garber outlines the current state of literature–how it is used …

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The Glass Castle

“We called the kitchen the loose-juice room, because on the rare occasion that we had paid the electricity bill and had power, we’d get a wicked electric shock if we touched any damp or metallic surface in the room. The first time I got zapped, it knocked my breath out and left me twitching on …

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To-Do List

The full title of this work is To-Do List: From buying milk to finding a soul mate, what our lists reveal about us. Its author, Sasha Cagen, collected hundreds of to-do lists, categorized them, and then selected ones to publish. Each chapter has a different theme–from daily lists to New Year’s Resolutions to relationships requirements–and each …

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Three Times Lucky

Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage tells the story of a young girl, Moses (“Mo”) LeBeau, and her adventures in the small town of Tupelo Landing. A hurricane swept Mo away when she was a baby and she wound up in Tupelo Landing. (Since then, Mo has been searching unsuccessfully for her “Upstream Mother.”) Mo’s current …

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Remarkable

The actual title of this book is Welcome to the Town of Remarkable Where Every Day in this Remarkable Place filled with Remarkable People is Positively Remarkable for Absolutely Everyone Except Jane. Do you see why I shortened it? Anyway, this book is by Lizzie K. Foley, and tells the story of Jane Doe, an ordinary …

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Between Shades of Gray

Between Shades of Gray is a book by Ruta Sepetys about a sixteen-year-old Lithuanian artist named Lina.  She, her mother, and her brother Jonas are deported by the Russians at the beginning of World War II and sent to Siberia to work.  Lina struggles to survive on a beet farm (where she falls in love with …

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