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Thursday, April 28, 2022

True Biz by Sara Novic


from description:  A transporting novel that follows a year of seismic romantic, political, and familial shifts for a teacher and her students at a boarding school for the deaf, from the acclaimed author of Girl at War.

True biz (adj/exclamation; American Sign Language): really, seriously, definitely, real-talk

I really enjoyed this novel, mostly for what I learned about the deaf community, its successes and its battles. 

 The first time I discovered the beauty of ASL was in college watching a family in a restaurant signing, later I saw the National Theater of the Deaf perform Dylan Thomas' A Child's Christmas in Wales on PBS.  Then there was Children of a Lesser God.  

For a year or so, I've been enjoying Nicky Elliot's videos "Signing to the Oldies" which are delightful.  This month, I happened on True BizBehind the Green Door.  The ASL is so smooth and I love the old songs that Nicky chooses.  

This month, I happened on True BizI learned much more about the history and evolution of sign language and its variations while reading True Biz as I followed the teachers and students at the fictional River Valley School for the Deaf.  I expect this renewed interest in ASL and the deaf community will result in one of the wandering literary itineraries I love.

I already wanted to see Coda, but now...even more so.

NetGalley/Random House

Fiction.  April 5, 2022.  Print length:  386 pages.

Tuesday, April 05, 2022

Woman Eating by Claire Kohda


Lydia or Lyd has been keeping the lid on emotions her entire life: on her condition, her relationship with her mother, her loneliness, and her hunger.  

Having just graduated from art school, Lyd has an internship at a prestigious art gallery and has just placed her mother in a home for dementia patients.  She feels as if her life is finally beginning, but she is not prepared for the hunger as her normal food source is much harder to acquire.  

She rents a studio, meets other young people, and Ben, the friendly manager of the studio spaces, and struggles with her desire to fit in and overcome the sense of shame instilled in her by her mother. The internship is not at all what she expected--more an unpaid assistant than a learning experience.

She distracts herself with videos of women eating, cooking, and discussing food or with Buffy, the Vampire episodes. 

Lydia is hungry.  Always.  But if you are looking for a "vampire" book, you will be disappointed.  Woman Eating is psychological and allegorical, an intriguing anomaly with multiple themes. 

Read in Oct. 2021. Review scheduled for April 5, 2022.

 NetGalley.  April 15, 2022.  Print length:  240 pages.