I’ve got another month of “required reading” ahead of me: a couple of blog tours, evermore book clubs and lots due back at the library. I’ve had a really productive last week of reading — mostly quick reads — but it’s got me thinking anything is possible. Bring on all the books!
Here’s a look at what I’m hoping to tackle in September:
After the Flood by Kassandra Montag
I feel like it’s been a while since I read a good dystopia, and I’m looking forward to this one! I’m scheduled to be a part of the blog tour in a couple of weeks on Literary Quicksand, so I don’t have to wait long to get into it 🙂
One hundred years into the future, the world has been utterly transformed. Myra lives with her eight year old daughter, Pearl, in what used to be Nebraska. Just before Pearl’s birth, floodwaters finally inundated their home after years of slowly overtaking the continent, starting with the great coastal cities. In its wake, the monstrous deluge has left an archipelago of mountaintop colonies surrounded by a deep expanse of open water.
Stubbornly independent Myra fishes from her small boat, the Bird, coming onto land only to trade for supplies and information, gutting any man and taking on any obstacle that threatens their lives. Precocious, feisty Pearl is her one reason for living, and a distraction from the memories of her older daughter, Row, who was kidnapped during the terrifying surge that swept away their home. But then, in a violent confrontation with a stranger, Myra discovers that Row is not dead, but being held captive by a violent gang of raiders on the far-off coast of what used to be Greenland. Throwing aside her usual caution, Myra embarks on a perilous voyage into the icy northern seas to rescue her child.
Golden State by Ben H. Winters
And I might as well keep my dystopia kick going… I scooped this up off the new shelf of the library the other day. It’s been on my radar since it was a Book of the Month pick earlier this year, and I’ve arranged to do a buddy read with Deanna (who chose it as her BOTM). It’ll be fun to have someone to discuss it with as I read.
Lazlo Ratesic is 54, a 19-year veteran of the Speculative Service, from a family of law enforcement and in a strange alternate society that values law and truth above all else. This is how Laz must, by law, introduce himself, lest he fail to disclose his true purpose or nature, and by doing so, be guilty of a lie.
Laz is a resident of The Golden State, a nation resembling California, where like-minded Americans retreated after the erosion of truth and the spread of lies made public life, and governance, increasingly impossible. There, surrounded by the high walls of compulsory truth-telling, knowingly contradicting the truth–the Objectively So–is the greatest possible crime. Stopping those crimes, punishing them, is Laz’s job. In its service, he is one of the few individuals permitted to harbor untruths–to “speculate” on what might have happened in the commission of a crime.
But the Golden State is far less a paradise than its name might suggest. To monitor, verify, and enforce the Objectively So requires a veritable panopticon of surveillance, recording, and record-keeping. And when those in control of the truth twist it for nefarious means, the Speculators may be the only ones with the power to fight back.
The Third Daughter by Talia Carner
Taking a sharp left turn into historical fiction, Carner’s novel is another story I get to read for an LQ blog tour this month. It’s based on a real but little-known events and it sounds absolutely fascinating.
The turn of the 20th century finds fourteen-year-old Batya in the Russian countryside, fleeing with her family endless pogroms. Desperate, her father leaps at the opportunity to marry Batya to a worldly, wealthy stranger who can guarantee his daughter an easy life and passage to America.
Feeling like a princess in a fairytale, Batya leaves her old life behind as she is whisked away to a new world. But soon she discovers that she’s entered a waking nightmare. Her new “husband” does indeed bring her to America: Buenos Aires, a vibrant, growing city in which prostitution is not only legal but deeply embedded in the culture. And now Batya is one of thousands of women tricked and sold into the oldest profession in the world.
As the years pass, Batya forms deep bonds with her “sisters” in the brothel as well as some men who are both kind and cruel. Through it all, she holds onto one dream: to bring her family to America, where they will be safe from the anti-Semitism that plagues Russia. Just as Batya is becoming a known tango dancer, she gets an unexpected but dangerous opportunity—to help bring down the criminal network that has enslaved so many young women and has been instrumental in developing Buenos Aires into a major metropolis.
A powerful story of finding courage in the face of danger, and hope in the face of despair, The Third Daughter brings to life a dark period of Jewish history and gives a voice to victims whose truth deserves to finally be told.
Beloved by Toni Morrison
I’ve never read this Morrison classic and, since her recent death, one of my book clubs wanted to pick one of her novels for our October meeting. This was the winner, and I’m glad I’ll finally have a pressing reason to pick it up.
Staring unflinchingly into the abyss of slavery, this spellbinding novel transforms history into a story as powerful as Exodus and as intimate as a lullaby.
Sethe was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but eighteen years later she is still not free. She has too many memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm where so many hideous things happened. Her new home is haunted by the ghost of her baby, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved.
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
This vampire novel is definitely not my usual read (though I will admit to reading the Twilight series when I was younger), but it’s the pick for an upcoming book club, so I’ve got no choice but to give it a try. Despite its length, I’ve been assured it’s a quick read. Here’s hoping — I’ve only got a few weeks and lots of other books to read!
To you, perceptive reader, I bequeath my history….Late one night, exploring her father’s library, a young woman finds an ancient book and a cache of yellowing letters. The letters are all addressed to “My dear and unfortunate successor,” and they plunge her into a world she never dreamed of, a labyrinth where the secrets of her father’s past and her mother’s mysterious fate connect to an inconceivable evil hidden in the depths of history.
The letters provide links to one of the darkest powers that humanity has ever known and to a centuries-long quest to find the source of that darkness and wipe it out. It is a quest for the truth about Vlad the Impaler, the medieval ruler whose barbarous reign formed the basis of the legend of Dracula. Generations of historians have risked their reputations, their sanity, and even their lives to learn the truth about Vlad the Impaler and Dracula. Now one young woman must decide whether to take up this quest herself–to follow her father in a hunt that nearly brought him to ruin years ago, when he was a vibrant young scholar and her mother was still alive. What does the legend of Vlad the Impaler have to do with the modern world? Is it possible that the Dracula of myth truly existed and that he has lived on, century after century, pursuing his own unknowable ends? The answers to these questions cross time and borders, as first the father and then the daughter search for clues, from dusty Ivy League libraries to Istanbul, Budapest, and the depths of Eastern Europe. In city after city, in monasteries and archives, in letters and in secret conversations, the horrible truth emerges about Vlad the Impaler’s dark reign and about a time-defying pact that may have kept his awful work alive down through the ages.
Which books are you most looking forward to this month? Share in the comments below and/or add your blog links to our TBR Mix ‘n’ Mingle linkup!
TBR Mix ‘n’ Mingle is hosted by Rachel at Never Enough Novels, Allison at My Novel Life, the other wonderful bloggers at Literary Quicksand, and myself. In the bookish community, TBR stands for “To Be Read,” but it can mean different things to different people; in fact, Book Riot has a wonderful post exploring all the possible definitions. To me, it just means a book I haven’t read but want to read eventually. We share our TBR Lists on the 1st of every month. We’d love for you to join us!
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