Fall, or Dodge in Hell – Neal Stephenson, 2019. I love most Stephenson, but this was a snore. The VR Paradise Lost is an interesting idea but dragged out way way too long, and the elevated diction was clumsy.
The Liar’s Club – Mary Karr, 1995 – quotes pulled, tbd
The Big Thirst: The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water – Charles Fishman, 2011 – quotes pulled, tbd
The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck, 1939 – quotes pulled, tbd
Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha – Roddy Doyle, 1993 – quotes pulled, tbd
Advice for Future Corpses (and Those Who Love Them): A Practical Perspective on Death and Dying – Sallie Tisdale, 2018. Wonderful and yes, very practical, if you’re ready to think about such things. A great companion to Being Mortal (Atul Gawande, 2014).
Old in Art School: A Memoir of Starting Over – Nell Irvin Painter, 2018. Enthralling and thought-provoking. I identified in many ways, as I’m slowly working my way towards a second bachelor’s in CS.
Wow, no re-reads this month! Pretty unusual for me—but that’s one of the advantages of belonging to so many book groups, keeping me focused on new stuff (or purposeful re-reads, not just comfort reading).
Fantasy is my favorite genre, but my bar for good fantasy is so high (and gets higher as I get older) that I very seldom find anything new to like, and only even try if the reviews are stellar. So when I say I loved lovedloved this graphic novel, I mean it. Thank you Twitter, since it was a re-tweet of Aldridge’s amazing sketch of Lloyd Alexander’s Taran holding Hen Wen that led me to his work. Estranged is about a human child kidnapped by fairies and his changeling twin. They meet and team up, which seems like an obvious idea but which I’ve never seen done before, and Aldridge subtly shows the similarities and differences in their personalities and how their different environments shaped them. The art, pen-and-ink and watercolor, is gorgeous, but the writing is equally strong. There are great sibling and love relationships, themes of belonging and being yourself, a non-binary character who’s an enchanted living candle (another very cool idea!), strong female characters, a dragon in subway tunnels…. and hurray, a sequel is coming out in October!
Edmund and the Childe were swapped at birth. Now Edmund lives in secret as a changeling in the World Above, with fae powers that make him different from everyone else—even his unwitting parents and older sister, Alexis. The Childe lives among the fae in the World Below, where being human makes him an oddity at the royal palace, and where his only friend is a wax golem named Whick.
But when the cruel sorceress Hawthorne takes the throne, the Childe and Edmund realize that the fate of both worlds may be in their hands—even if they’re not sure which world they belong to.