“The Age of Miracles” a novel by Karen Thompson Walker
We didn’t notice right away. We couldn’t feel it.
This novel has gotten so much press that I don’t feel I can add much to all the praise except to say that it combines two of my favorite genres; dystopian and coming-of-age. It’s hard to do one or the other without being cliché but she manages to do both while staying wonderfully original. At a time of life when normal is so out of reach for a young teenage girl, Julia must navigate not only adolescence but also the strange new world where the earth’s rotation has inexplicably slowed so the days and nights grow longer and longer with devastating consequences.
What I learned: That a fantastic premise needs to be grounded in specific characters and details.
“The Lost Wife” a novel by Alyson Richman
He dressed deliberately for the occasion, his suit pressed and his shoes shined.
This is not a book I would’ve normally chosen on my own but a friend suggested it and I was totally swept away by the love story of Josef and Lenka set in prewar Prague. When they realize that a Nazi invasion is imminent, the newly married couple is torn apart, and each is forced to live a life without the other.
What I learned: That the Nazis took away so many so-called freedoms such as radios before shipping them off to camps.
“Tin House Summer Reading” volume 13, Number 4
Julia had been tending a fantasy about the famous photographer who would be lodgin with her at the college’s guesthouse.
So many amazing stories by so many amazing writers such as Amy Hempel, Sherman Alexie and the incomparable Alice Munro. The story ‘Deer” by Nina Buckless still haunts me.
What I learned: That I really really want to be published in this literary journal.
“The Catastrophic History of You and Me” a YA novel by Jess Rothenberg
There’s always that one guy who gets a hold on you.
This novel explores first love, first loss and first betrayal from the vantage point of fifteen-year-old Brie who is newly D & G. (Dead & Gone). The rules in this new land of forever are complicated and so is her view of what she left behind. There’s her family, her best friends and her boyfriend , Jacob who Brie loved deeply. In this new world she encounters the strangely familiar Patrick who becomes her guide to this new world as she straddles what she left behind and what lies ahead.
What I learned: That no matter what kind of world yo create, the story relies on the characters that inhabit that world.