Archive for January, 2018

Autumn, by Ali Smith

January 27, 2018

[Lesley] In some essential ways this novel made me think of Tinkers by Paul Harding. Nonlinear narrative that looks at time, humanity, and aging (and growing up) – beautiful language and deep quiet. I can’t wait to read the others in the quartet (Winter just came out in January!).

This is a tough sort of book to recommend though. There’s no way to think of this story as having a beginning, middle, and end – no way to feel like everything is resolved at the end. It’s hard to get a complete “read” on the characters; everyone is a bit out of focus in a dream-like way. We’re left with some mysteries, some things that may be true but might not be, and both Elisabeth and Daniel existing in that in-between state of growing older. It may not be the book for every reader, but it is one of the best I have read.

And, how could I not love that Daniel always asks Elisabeth, “What are you reading?”

Watership Down by Richard Adams

January 26, 2018


I came upon this classic in a roundabout way. While reading (again) Steven King’s great novel “The Stand” one of his main characters mentioned that although he wasn’t a strong reader, he picked up this book and could not put it down. Later in the story he uses a phrase “going tharn” from the novel.
As for the plot, it’s basically a tale about a group of rabbits ousted from their home by human development and desperately looking for a new place to live. The author gives the rabbits their own unique personalities and even their own culture, language and religion. This is a beautifully written novel about friendship and trust between this group of rabbits and I love it for the story of their exciting and sometimes terrible journey to find their new home. Definitely, a classic.

Watership Down is available on audiobook on Hoopla.


Salt Houses by Hala Alyan

January 10, 2018

This is a beautifully written novel that follows several generations of a Palestinian family from the 1960s to the present. It focuses on the day-to-day impact of the huge historical events and struggles that surround this family as they move again and again from Palestine to Kuwait, Beirut, Paris, Boston, and more in search of a new and safer life. The challenges the different generations face to keep a sense of normalcy for their families, how much of their past to hold onto, and navigating new places as immigrants are heart-breaking at times, and will stay with you.

The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden

January 9, 2018

This is the second book in a trilogy by Katherine Arden (the first book is The Bear and the Nightingale), and that can be a tough thing to pull off without seeming like filler between the first and last books. Katherine Arden really pulls it off! This book builds on the characters, particularly the main character Vasya, in interesting ways, takes them in unexpected directions, but would also work as a stand-alone book. The series is steeped in Russian fairy tales, and has a lovely, magical feel to it, although it it doesn’t spare you the brutality of life in medieval Russia. I love this series so far. Can’t wait for number 3.

This whole series can be found on eBook and audiobook on Libby/Overdrive.

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

January 8, 2018


I actually picked up this book after reading Dark Tower #6 because of the title phrase “Turtles All the Way Down.” This bit of philosophical thought plays heavily into both these stories despite their vastly different content.

John Green does a good job delving into the main character’s psyche, making her relatable despite her severe anxiety and nauseating compulsions. This YA novel is great for an adult to pick up too despite featuring teenage characters– Green’s excellent writing brings you right into this girl’s life from her perspective. He presented her world in a way that was reminiscent of high school for me despite taking place (presumably) in 2017. (Age Disclaimer: I was not in high school during this millennium)

A page-turner, interesting. This book can be found on Libby/Overdrive.

Find this book in the Wiggin catalog to check availability or place a hold

The Circle, by Dave Eggers

January 7, 2018

[Lesley] In the same vein as some of William Gibson’s books (Pattern Recognition, Spook Country, and Zero History especially) or Max Barry’s Jennifer Government and Company, The Circle is a spooky too-close-to-reality type of science fiction or alternative present (rather than alternative history). As the main character falls deeper into the cultural snare of The Circle, she moves from awe-filled enthusiasm to generalized anxiety to near-paranoia – and of course we know that sometimes paranoia is justified. While (& since) reading this book, I have been thinking a lot about our social-media-driven culture and some of the companies that have become monoliths (Google and Amazon, anyone?). This book reads both like a thriller and societal criticism, and the writing is engaging and smart – exactly what one expects from Dave Eggers.

The Circle can be found on Libby/Overdrive.