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Rachel Coker has commented on (83) products.

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

Rachel Coker, August 18, 2015

"Snow Flower and the Secret Fan" tells the story of two girls growing up in 19th-century China. The customs of the age, including foot-binding and a secret language called "nu shu," may be unfamiliar, but the bond between two lifelong friends is entirely universal. Author Lisa See clearly did a tremendous amount of research, but the novel never feels weighted down by it. This is a selection for a new book club I'm in, and I think it will provide lots of fodder for a good discussion.
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Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Between the World and Me

Rachel Coker, August 1, 2015

Toni Morrison said "This is required reading," and it's plain to see why. This book is a thoughtful, personal, heartbreaking synthesis of the consequences of centuries of American injustice. Ta-Nehisi Coates addresses this book to his son, and any parent who reads it will understand the way that the world becomes more fraught and your interests in it shift when you bring a child into the world. I dare you not to be shattered when you read about Coates' feelings as he watches his son play with a new group of kids on a preschool tour and wishes he'd hold back a bit. "...now I understand the gravity of what I was proposing -- that a four-year-old child be watchful, prudent, and shrewd, that I curtail your happiness, that you submit to a loss of time. And now when I measure this fear against the boldness that the masters of the galaxy imparted to their own children, I am ashamed." Anyone who has studied abroad, who has left their home country behind for at least a few months, will recognize what happens to Coates in Paris. The experience gives you a new view not only of your host country, but also of your own people. Now imagine that what you see reveals to you that your hardships are even harder than you imagined on your worst days. That's what he sees: America has stolen not only his body, which was his fear all along, but also his eyes. Coates doesn't prescribe a fix for America. He ponders a future in which systems that have plundered black bodies begin to break down, but he suspects that their failure would only bring further pain down on his people. And, seeing the world through his eyes at least for a little while, it's hard to disagree.
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(3 of 3 readers found this comment helpful)

The Crane Wife by Patrick Ness
The Crane Wife

Rachel Coker, July 16, 2015

This is a modern myth fashioned from a Japanese folktale with the utmost care and artistry. It is utterly implausible and utterly beautiful. If you are looking for a realistic story about an American man who moves to Britain and runs a print shop, do not read this novel. But if you are open to something more magical and strange and lovely, you will not be disappointed by "The Crane Wife."
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In the Woods by Tana French
In the Woods

Rachel Coker, July 11, 2015

"In the Woods" is my idea of a great summer read. It's a fast-paced, suspenseful and well-crafted murder mystery. Set in and around Dublin, Ireland, the novel is narrated by a homicide detective who survived a horrible crime as a child. As the book begins, he and his partner, a strong-willed and whip-smart woman, take on a case that may or may not be linked to the one in his past. I found the characters interesting and the crime difficult to solve right up until the end.
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(1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

Rachel Coker, May 27, 2015

"The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry" seems like a simple story: A man sets off with a letter to an old acquaintance, then decides to deliver the note in person instead. As she's hundreds of miles away, he has abundant time to reflect on his life, his parents, his son, his marriage and more. What he finds is by turns disturbing and heartwarming. If you liked "Major Pettigrew's Last Stand," another book about an Englishman who overcomes his conventional upbringing to find his voice and his passion, you'll like this.
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