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Rachel Coker has commented on (79) products.

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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The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro
The Buried Giant

Rachel Coker, May 27, 2015

Kazuo Ishiguro's newest novel, "The Buried Giant," cannot be summed up in just a few words. It's centuries ago somewhere in Britain, and a man and a woman set off on a journey to see their son. A mist has descended over the country, robbing people of their memories and at the same time ensuring a fragile peace between Saxons and Britons. Ishiguro's use of language is unique, at once entirely precise and shrouding vital details from the reader until they burst forth. The book's essential question might be: Would you rather have a sharp memory accompanied by deep pain and longing or live untroubled in a deep fog?
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Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson
Roller Girl

Rachel Coker, May 18, 2015

I first noticed "Roller Girl" on a list of best books for tween girls. As a parent of a tween (and a younger girl who loves graphic novels), I decided to check it out. It's really, really well done. The story focuses on Astrid, a Portland 12-year-old dealing with shifting friendships, a desire for growing independence and other pre-teen challenges. When she decides to attend a roller derby camp without her BFF, she has to find her own way in a new group of people while mastering a new set of skills. Along the way, she dyes her hair blue, fights with her mom and picks out a roller derby name. My daughters and I all read this book in a day. The kids enjoyed the story; I enjoyed having an excuse to talk with them about friends, middle school, boys and more. Thumbs up from all of us!
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Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Americanah

Rachel Coker, May 18, 2015

This stellar novel could be Exhibit A in a discussion of how fiction can build empathy and allow readers to explore other perspectives and cultures. I will never know what it’s like to be black in America ��" or to be a non-American black in America, either. But thanks to “Americanah,” I had an opportunity to look at my country through a different lens. The book is more than inter-cultural homework, however. It also stands up as a love story and as a coming-of-age tale with a Nigerian girl at its heart. Highly recommended.
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The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez
The Book of Unknown Americans

Rachel Coker, April 18, 2015

"The Book of Unknown Americans" knits together the stories of a diverse group of Hispanic immigrants who live in a Delaware apartment building. Cristina Henriquez's novel shares the big hopes (a better education, a career on Broadway, love) of these immigrants, along with their sorrows large (brain injury) and small (terrible canned food). She also somehow juggles more than a half-dozen first-person narrators without ever losing the reader's attention. This is a love story, a reality check on the American dream and a very good read. Highly recommended.
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