“The Map of Salt and Stars” by Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar
2018 Publication , 5 star , novel / October 25, 2018

Sometimes you walk past the ‘new books’ section at the library and pick up a book because the cover is pretty. And then you start reading the book and have to take frequent breaks because the book is so powerful and emotional. And then after you’re finished reading it you have to take a break and not read anything else for a while. This is what happened when I read Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar’s “The Map of Salt and Stars.” “The Map of Salt and Stars” is an interwoven story: that of the present day Nour and her family, and that of a 13th century apprentice mapmaker who travels the same area Nour does in order to make an accurate map as part of the first atlas of the entire world. While Rawiya faces down military forces of fighting kingdoms and is stalked by an immense Roc, it is Nour that faces more realistically deadly threats as her family attempts to flee Syria. They’d already fled New York, after their dad died of cancer. Nour’s mother took her and her two older sisters back to Syria. Well, for her mom and sisters it was “back.” Nour was born in the USA…

“The Ghost Script,” by Jules Feiffer
2018 Publication , 5 star , graphic novel / June 20, 2018

Oh my god. I won “The Ghost Script” by Jules Feiffer in a good reads giveaway and my very excited opinion is honestly mine. “The Ghost Script” is the third book in a trilogy. If I’d realized that I wouldn’t have entered the contest, as I haven’t read the first two and it can be hard to jump into a series partway through without knowing what’s gone before. But I’m really glad that I entered the contest (and, of course, that I won). The noir-ish series covers the McCarthy era of anti-communism, the Red Scare, the blacklisting of folks in Hollywood and the politics of the time. There’s right wing unions, left wing unions, communists, trotskyites, and young nazis. The main protagonist is Archie Goldman, a private dick who is… not very glamorous and loses just about every fight he gets into, including fights with himself over what he should or shouldn’t do. There’s a cast of other PoV characters exploring different themes and adventures as well, including murder and revenge. The book is very well paced and even though I was a bit lost at times because I hadn’t read the previous two volumes, I was mostly able to…