This post-apocalyptic journey starts like so many others — the world has imploded because of a series of horrible events — but then quickly veers off into a surprisingly pleasant direction of its own. Beatrix is a fair trade advocate, who just traveled for several weeks to get back home from an international work trip to California, only to find her roommates have left for greener pastures. Carson, is a former history teacher turned principal living on the east coast, who decides when things get bad he’s going to take a long walk. Specifically, to find Beatrix. They randomly met in the before and made an instant connection, and his hope of seeing her again propels him across the country on foot.
A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World by C.A Fletcher was a book that caught my attention primarily because of the title. I love a good dsytopian/post-apocalyptic novel. I also love dogs. Even though this book came out over a year ago, I only just started hearing about it everywhere, and when I was recently able to get an inexpensive digital copy, I scooped it right up.
Right at the upfront, the book kindly requests that you refrain from sharing plot points that may spoil the reading experience for others, so I will diligently do my best to avoid them. It’s the story of Griz, who lives on an island with his family in what is now, essentially, an empty world. A “Gelding” occurred in which humanity becomes mostly sterile, and the population has dwindled to an absurdly small percentage of its current number. Though he hasn’t seen much of the world, Griz has heard stories about it from his parents. Despite his inexperience off the island, when a visitor takes something from Griz, he doesn’t hesitate to leave his family and his home behind to get it back.
Julia Alvarez’s In the Time of the Butterflieshas been on my radar for what feels like forever — I’ve owned a copy for at least five years now. But I didn’t read it until recently, and I can’t believe I didn’t pick it up sooner. Alvarez’s novel is based on the true story of three sisters who were murdered in 1960s Dominican Republic, for their part in a plot to overthrow the government.
The story follows all four Mirabal sisters during the 50s and 60s as well as the one who was not murdered in the present (in this case, the 90s). Despite being close in age and obviously growing up in the same household, their very different personalities. Each shines through in her section. Alas, they come together in the end with the goal of bringing down their country’s dictator, Trujillo. They become involved in the resistance and collectively the sisters become known as “las mariposas,” or “the butterflies.”
I really enjoy Katherine Center’s stories. I was a huge fan of How to Walk Away — like finishing-it-in-my-car-before-work huge — and I’m glad to say this one did not disappoint. From what I’ve seen, her novels revolve around a woman who isn’t exactly what you would expect. In Things You Save in a Fire, the main character Cassie is a female firefighter.
She’s tough as nails and extremely career-oriented. Though she’s been estranged from her mother since she was a kid, Cassie softens just a little bit, and ends up agreeing to move across the country to live with her in Boston when her mom reveals she’s having some health issues. At the new firehouse, Cassie is the only woman. As seasoned as she is, Cassie must still constantly prove her worth against the rookie, and while he has no actual experience, he is a guy and therefore more welcome in the old-school environment.
I’m sure many of you have read Andy Weir’s popular novel The Martian. For me, it was a rare re-read. I figured re-reading a book I loved would be a perfect way to guide me gently back into my regular reading life, and I was right. I knew exactly what to expect from Mark Watney and his time on Mars. It was just what I needed.
For those of you who haven’t read The Martian (or seen the movie, which is basically just as good, though a touch different, particularly at the end), I’ll give you a brief synopsis. A crew of astronauts is hanging out on Mars when an unexpected storm arrives, causing them to evacuate. During the evacuation, a man named Mark Watney is separated from the rest of the crew and left on Mars alone. He has to do what he can to survive until help can arrive… hopefully.
Wow! Has it been a while since I’ve sat down to write a book review (and recipe!), but here I am, and I’m excited. I hope you are too 🙂
I actually read Kevin Wilson’s Nothing to See Here last year. It was the first book I read after Henry was born, when I was transitioning into all e-books all the time (much easier one-handed and in the dark, with a sleeping baby), and the last book I read before 2020 showed up. I’ve apparently been a low-key Kevin Wilson fan for a while now — check out my review of Perfect Little World— and though I’ve enjoyed them all, this was by far my favorite.
His style is typically quirky, and this novel was no exception. It follows twenty-something Lillian, who feels like her life is going nowhere until her boarding school roommate Madison reaches out and asks her to move in and be a caretaker for her stepchildren. Knowing nothing about children, she agrees.
I remember when Golden State was offered up as a Book of the Month selection earlier this year. I didn’t choose it, since my friend Deanna did (and we like to share books), but then I sort of forgot about it again until I saw it on my library’s new releases shelf recently. I scooped it up and asked her if she wanted to do a buddy read. Of course, she immediately said yes. It was the first buddy read experience for both of us, and honestly, it couldn’t have gone better! It also helped that the story was pretty much a page-turner from beginning to end.
Ben H. Winters’s novel takes place in a dystopian future in a California that is now separated from the rest of the country, where residents retreated when lies overtook the world as they knew it. The Golden State is its own nation where truth is valued above all else and the primary functions of society revolve around maintaining the Objectively So. Unlike in the movie The Invention of Lying, lying is definitely possible — it’s just punishable.
I excitedly picked Candice Carty-Williams’ Queenie as my Book of the Month in March, but since life gets in the way, I didn’t get a chance to read it until recently. I was so looking forward to it that I chose it as a part of a reading challenge I’m doing with Deanna (who you’ll remember from Gilmore week) now that she’s moved away. It fit perfectly in the “book with a one word title” category.
Queenie is a 25-year-old Jamaican British woman living in London, where she works at a newspaper. After a recent breakup with her long-term white boyfriend, she’s struggling to cope in a healthy way. She can’t concentrate on her job, and her “getting back out there” has disastrous results.
Valencia and Valentine is a contemporary fiction debut from Suzy Krause that came out just a few days ago. The novel is described as quirky and charming and perfect for fans of Maria Semple, Graeme Simsion, Fredrik Backman and even Gail Honeyman — all of whom I’ve enjoyed. Naturally, with those comparisons, I was excited to have the opportunity to join the blog tour hosted by TLC Book Tours!
When Etaf Rum’s A Woman Is No Man was shown as an option for the February Book of the Month, I didn’t hesitate to select it. The description of her debut novel ticked a lot of boxes for me. Rum takes us inside the lives of conservative Arab women living in America and leaves us gasping for air.
The novel is the story of three generations of Palestinian women — Deya, who is 18 and begrudgingly beginning to look for suitors; her mother, Isra, who desperately wants to find love, ultimately leaving her family in Palestine to marry a man living in Brooklyn; and Fareeda, Isra’s mother-in-law, who pressures Isra to bear sons and Deya to find a husband, even though both women want more for their lives than what is traditionally expected of them.