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I've been slinging books since I was 18 and reading them much longer. I tend to read what sounds interesting to me at the moment and have been known to fall into a reading black hole, if a subject pulls me in deep enough, only to emerge 3 months and 10 books later.
Originally published in 2003, Cuban sci-fi author Yoss’ noir detective novel, Red Dust, finally made its English debut this year. Beginning with the intergalactic trading station William S. Burroughs, to the protagonist name Raymond (Raymond Chandler, one of two people the book is dedicated to) Red Dust gives many nods to literary history and translation. A short, delightful read, Red Dust pulled me into it’s amazing robotic space detective adventure mystery, during the pandemic, when I was having trouble focusing on the page.
Pizza Girl showed up on my doorstep during the pandemic and I made a specific plan to devour it in one sitting. In Jean Kyoung Frazier’s debut novel, a pregnant teenage pizza delivery girl finds herself obsessed with a woman that orders, weekly, pickle covered pizzas (would eat!) for her kid. As Pizza Girl’s obsession with Jenny grows, so does her capacity for drinking beers in the middle of her night in her dad’s old shed, while trying to escape her smothering family. A teenage pregnancy story that is dark, hopeful, and lays out the reality of alcoholism, grief and dysfunctional family relationships through honest dialogue, my teenage self connected with Pizza Girl in unexpected ways. And you cannot deny that that cover is nothing short of amazing.
Set in southeastern Nigeria, The Death of Vivek Oji begins with Vivek’s lifeless body, wrapped in a colorful sheet, found on his mother’s doorstep. Here begins the emotional and enlightening story of his family's search for answers in parallel with his true friends' struggle in the decision of telling the truth about why Vivek really died. Told in many voices and timelines, The Death of Vivek Oji takes readers on a journey to show how far grief can push minds to open, accept, and shows what unconditional love truly means.
Beautifully packaged boxset for a two volume post-apocalyptic sci-fi novel set in a broken world of 2032 that is shockingly familiar in 2020. Octavia Butler was way ahead of her time.
Lauren Beukes is one of my favorite authors of all time! The fact that Afterland was set in a post-pandemic world makes me love this book even more.
The best cli-fi (climate fiction) I have read.
Everything Under author, Daisy Johnson, is back with Sisters, a haunting story about the multi-layered relationship between siblings born ten months apart and are so closely connected, it’s hard to tell where one’s thoughts ends and the other’s thoughts begins. A connection driven by unconditional love, but also marked by manipulation and possessiveness. I found myself torn between wanting to keep reading and the dreading anxiety that arose as repressed memories came into focus for each sister. Beautifully dark, twisting and emotional, Sisters confirmed that I will follow Daisy Johnson wherever she leads me in the future.
I read Austinite Lawrence Wright’s The End of October in the spring of 2020, when the coronavirus was just starting to be widely reported on and the series ‘Pandemic’ was just out on Netflix. I lost multiple nights of sleep after finishing both and could not stop thinking about the potential of a virus like this happening nowadays, and wondering how our country and the world would respond. In Wright’s October, when the virus found its way to Mecca, which more than 2 million Muslims travel to yearly to perform the hajj, it became a worldwide problem, not unlike our current situation. Here we are in fall 2020 and I now know what would happen because we are currently living it. This is the perfect, fast-paced pandemic read, if you want to read a thriller about pandemics.
This is THE book that was able to get me out of my reading slump during the pandemic. Devoured it.
Difficult to read and impossible to put down, Tara's story hit (too) close to home for me. I know there are some that think some of her stories just cannot be true but let me tell you, they can be. And I trust her that they are. Tara's story shows that what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger.