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Original Essays | June 20, 2014

Lisa Howorth: IMG So Many Books, So Many Writers

I'm not a bookseller, but I'm married to one, and Square Books is a family. And we all know about families and how hard it is to disassociate... Continue »


Customer Comments

Rachel Coker has commented on (57) products.

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

Rachel Coker, May 12, 2014

"We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves" is complicated, smart and compelling. Its timeline is all mashed up, but the author does so with purpose rather than with irritating flourish. I don't want to say too much about the plot for fear of giving away a key revelation about the book. I will say that if you're interested in scientific research, particularly in psychology, this novel will have added appeal. Note to readers who are looking at this book because they've read Karen Joy Fowler's "Jane Austen Book Club:" This novel operates at another level entirely. It's far more challenging and deep. I enjoyed the earlier book as a fine bit of chick lit, pretty good but by no means life-changing. This book is real literature.
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The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson
The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared

Rachel Coker, April 4, 2014

Such fun! This fantastic novel blends crime, comedy and a spin through 20th century geopolitics. It reminded me a bit of the Woody Allen movie "Zelig" combined with the storytelling concept that makes "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" work. Bright writing and a clever plot held my attention all the way through. Highly recommended.
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Divergent (Divergent Trilogy #1) by Veronica Roth
Divergent (Divergent Trilogy #1)

Rachel Coker, March 2, 2014

I love a good post-apocalyptic, dystopian teen drama. And if it features a female heroine who's both tough and smart? All the better. "Divergent" hits a literary sweet spot for me, just as "The Hunger Games" and "The Age of Miracles" did before it. I'd say Veronica Roth's "Divergent" is not quite as smart as Karen Thompson Walker's "Miracles" and does not represent quite as fully formed a vision as "The Hunger Games," but it's absolutely absorbing. Roth provides a good mix of philosophy, violence and cultural commentary. She also does an admirable job describing a future Chicago in which Lake Michigan is a marsh, emergency generators keep the elevators running at the Hancock Center and the Navy Pier is a wasteland. I finished "Divergent" in a couple of days, skipping most of a night's sleep so I could find out what would happen. I'm looking forward to reading the other books in this series.
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Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
Me Before You

Rachel Coker, February 12, 2014

"Me Before You" is one of those books that sucks you in and doesn't let go. I blame this novel for a terrible night's sleep, and by that I mean that I stayed up until 3 a.m. so I could see what was going to happen to the two main characters.

Moyes' novel challenges you to think more deeply about disability, what makes life worth living, romantic love and physician-assisted suicide. And, somehow, even with all that packed in, it's never preachy or boring. This would make an excellent book club selection. I assume a movie is in the works or will be soon.
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The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty
The Husband's Secret

Rachel Coker, February 3, 2014

"The Husband's Secret" is a compelling, finely observed novel. Juicier than most fiction I've read lately. Liane Moriarty gets so much right about competitive school moms, about the banality of married life, about the little hurts and insecurities we all nurse in private. She manages to wrestle with some big ethical dilemmas in a surprisingly satisfying way, too.
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