For many years I taught English and was the International Student Advisor at a Massachusetts college, a job which stimulated my broad interest in international fiction. I found that by reading fiction set in the countries where my students and their families lived – usually books written by authors from those countries – that I was able to gain a different perspective and a deeper appreciation of the cultural similarities and differences between life in the US and life in other parts of the world, an appreciation one does not get from textbooks and guidebooks.
In recent years I have reviewed books set in countries from Afghanistan to Zanzibar, representing 139 of the 140 countries in the world. My objective is educational. The vast majority of books I review are literary fiction written by authors from other countries or set in other countries. Since so many western readers have not traveled to many of the countries featured here, and since references are often made to particular places well known to readers from those countries, I often use small photographs to clarify and explain the references within the novels. The site contains no advertising of any kind, not even a link to Amazon for purchasing books, and is non-profit. The source of every photograph is cited in the credits section.
As far as my reviews are concerned: I’ve always tried to be fair and impartial in reviewing books, but you will know when I love a book! I don’t review books that I strongly dislike – life is too short. I try to describe the book as it is so that a reader will be able to figure out if s/he will like the book, whether or not I do – we all have different tastes. I usually post any reservations about the book in the last paragraph.
I have a Facebook page: Mary Whipple Reviews. (Be sure to add the word “Reviews” to get to the right site!) You will get an announcement and link there whenever I post a new review. Just open the page and become a fan if you are interested. As I post brief summaries of the books I review on FB (limited by FB to 420 spaces, so extremely short!), along with links to the reviews, it’s an easy way to keep track of new reviews.
To authors looking for reviews: This website is dedicated to reviewing books of international fiction, and I am already fully committed to reviewing books of that genre for the next several months. I am sorry but I will not be able to accept any new books for review.
Comments: The comments feature here on the site is not activated. Comments may be left on the Facebook page. Just go to the page and leave a note on my profile page timeline. Again, a reminder. I am not able to accept any new books for review at this time, so please do not post requests for review on my Facebook page.
Thanks for visiting. Mary