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Book Review

Book Reviews

3/2/2022

By Jennifer Raff
02/08/22
368 pages
$30
Twelve Books

‘Origin: A Genetic History of the Americas’

Anthropology is not always an accessible topic for general reading. It’s often dense, and despite its subject being humanity, it can seem cold and remote to the general public. Not a small part of this is the historically racist, insensitive and inhumane way in which research was conducted. In this book, Jennifer Raff takes on the task of describing the human migration to the Americas with a passion that belies the typical scientific story. This is such a readable, understandable book, it blew me away. It’s both interesting and thoughtful, while also being accessible to anyone. 

The author spends a lot of time describing genetic research, but never in a complicated way. She describes the movement of people from Siberia while acknowledging the many disagreements and discussions still taking place in the field as more sites are uncovered. Importantly, she focuses on how to go about understanding the cultural and human stakes at play amid the science.

Whether you are an anthropological junkie or someone looking for a quick, compelling, and fascinating nonfiction read, this would be an excellent choice. ♦

— Review by Julie Goodrich

CNA - Stop HIV Iowa

By Nnedi Okorafor
01/18/22
419 pages
$18.99
Viking Books

‘Akata Woman’ 

I love this series so much, I think most of the readers in my life are sick of hearing about it. Lucky for them, there’s a new one for me to sing about. Often, books in a series can get repetitive, but not so with this series. The story only gets deeper and more utterly compelling. 

Akata Woman tells the story of Sunny Nwazue as she delves deeper into Leopard Society and the magic that is her birthright. Faced with a challenge from the spider goddess, Udide, Sunny and her friends must recover a stolen object or face a terrifying punishment. The challenge brings their  friendships even closer as the group grows and changes in both typical and surprising ways. Faced with a spiritual battle, along with a magical one, Sunny must balance her normal family with her magical destiny, finding herself at a crossroads. 

The pace is unrelenting and the writing is always lively. Nnedi Okorafor is a brilliant writer, and this may be my favorite in her long list of amazing books. If you want me to stop waxing poetic about this series, do the right thing and go read it! ♦ 

— Review by Julie Goodrich

 

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