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Reviews of the Week, with John Green, Galway Kinnell, Eymard Toledo, and More!

Every weekday we feature a different review on Booklist Online. These reviews are notable for different reasons—they may be starred, or high-demand, or especially relevant to the current issue’s spotlight. We’ve collected the reviews from December 18–21 below, so you can revisit the best of the week.


December 18Collected Poems by Galway Kinnell

 Collected Poems, by Galway Kinnell

Reading any poet’s life’s work in chronological order is invariably revelatory. Some poets’ careers are full of formal changes, others’ of changes of mind and temperament. Kinnell (1927–2014) changed from unshowy rhyme-and-meter to modest free verse before completing his first collection. But his main concerns and subjects remained the same, his attitude toward them altering with age. Although the voice in the poems is always his, his power of imaginative recreation and his cognitive scope make him—though, he grants, most limited by sex, race, nationality—seem to speak for everyone.


December 19Turtles All The Way Down by John Green

 Turtles All the Way Down, by John Green, read by Kate Rudd

Aza seems a normal teen, but her obsessive-compulsive disorder causes her thoughts to spiral. She knows logically that she should take her medication, but that’s easier said than done. Her best friend, Daisy, convinces Aza to get in touch with a childhood friend, Davis, whose wealthy father has disappeared. Daisy hopes for information that could help the police find him and thus secure the reward for herself and Aza, but Aza discovers both acceptance of her behavior and a deepening friendship with Davis. Rudd’s remarkable reading perfectly complements Green’s thoughtful and touching novel.


December 20The Best Tailor in Pinbaue by Eymard Toledo

 The Tailor of Pinbauê, by Eymard Toledo

The story of this fictional town in Brazil could be the story of any town or village in the world that has felt the economic and environmental devastation of industrialization. Pinbauê was once a fishing village where the river sustained life and a man could earn a decent living as a tailor. The narrator, Edinho, reminisces about his childhood with his uncle, the best tailor in Pinbauê. Toledo skillfully balances the inevitable melancholy of this tale with a cheerful and surprising twist in which the boy and his uncle push away the cloud of gray cast by the polluting factory and remind the townspeople of the color and vibrancy of their former lives.


December 21The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

 The Immortalists, by Chloe Benjamin

Restless during the seismic summer of 1969 on New York’s Lower East Side, the four Gold siblings, descendants of Jews who fled violent persecution overseas, sneak off to see a fortune-teller, who tells them each, separately, the date of his or her death. So begins Benjamin’s bewitching and provocative second novel. Each character’s story is saturated with paradox in this delving family saga laced with history and science and a heart-pounding inquiry into self, inheritance, fate, and the mind-body connection.



About the Author:

Enobong Essien is Booklist's first international intern, coming all the way from across the pond. Her favorite 'procrastinate from studying' activities include: reading, writing, crocheting and taking note of all the ways Americans are different than Brits.

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