Bus Reads is Back!

It wasn’t just quarantine that kept me from my bus rides into work, it was also parental leave. I got a few reads in before my son made his way into our lives. Here are the last few quarantine reads before nesting took over. And as my commute begins again, I look forward to sharing reads with all of you and hope to see you out there! Happy reading!

Outlawed by Anna North

An edge-of-your-seat feminist western. Ada had her life planned out – husband, house, kids…but when no pregnancy comes her life is in danger. So as not to be branded as a witch, Ada joins a convent and then runs away and joins up with the notorious Hole in the Wall gang: a group of women like herself running away from the limits that life tried to put on them. Now she must decide if she’s willing to risk it all for the new family she’s created.

The Borrower by Rebecca Makkai

Lucy Hull is a young children’s librarian in the small town of Hannibal, Missouri. When her favorite patron, ten- year-old Ian Drake, runs away from home, Lucy finds him hiding out in the library. Having seen how Ian’s mother treats her son – denying him access to books deemed lacking “the breath of God” and the anti-gay classes he’s been forced to take – Lucy becomes kidnapper and kidnapped. Their crazy road trip ahead brings things to light and has us questioning, who’s really running away? Continue reading “Bus Reads is Back!”

Recent Science Fiction: Journey to the Stars

Science fiction, as a genre, covers many different subgenres and subjects, but one steadfast storyline is a trip to the stars. If you’re in the mood for fictional space exploration, check out one of these recent novels.

We Have Always Been Here by Lena Nguyen
Dr. Grace Park has always gotten along better with androids than with her fellow humans. Now the psychologist for an expedition exploring planet Eos for colonization potential, she and the crew are trapped on the ship by a radiation storm ravaging the surface. As the crew – both human and android alike – begin to behave strangely, Grace must unravel the hidden purpose behind their mission to discover the root of their affliction.

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir
The sun is rapidly and inexplicably dying, leading scientists to predict an instant and catastrophic ice age within the next few decades. Ryland Grace, molecular biologist-turned-middle school science teacher, is reluctantly one of a three person crew headed to Tau Ceti in hopes of saving humankind. When he wakes up mid-flight to find his fellow crewmates dead, he also discovers that he’s not alone in searching for a solution.

Continue reading “Recent Science Fiction: Journey to the Stars”

Books Set in Tokyo

We are well into the second week of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, and while many events are held indoors, catching glimpses of the city as triathletes, runners and more move through it has me craving deeper engagement with the people and places of Tokyo. So I have turned, naturally, to fiction. Here are a few works, mostly by Japanese authors, set in and around Tokyo.

Choosing just one novel by master novelist Haruki Murakami is a daunting proposition, but let’s start with Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, in which Tazaki is prompted to pause his quiet life to visit four friends from high school and understand why their friendship ended. It’s a Murakami novel, though, so expect plenty of surreality and pop culture references. Sayaka Murata’s Convenience Store Woman is a sparse novel that questions the push to conform to societal expectations as seen through the experiences of 36-year-old convenience store clerk Keiko Furukawa. The classic novel Kokoro by Natsume Soseki, originally published in 1914, tells the story of a young man and his mentor, simultaneously providing a portrait of pre-war Japan. For a more whimsical read, check out Soseki’s I Am a Cat.

In the manga Continue reading “Books Set in Tokyo”

#BookBingoNW2021 Cli-fi or Environmental Non-fiction

The Cli-fi/Environmental Non-Fiction square offers lots of good reading options! From visions of how the world might look after a climate apocalypse, to intensely personal stories of connection with the land; from accounts of how we got to this point in time, to examinations of the intersection of capitalism and climate; and much more. Check out a few suggestions below to get you started, and find many, many more on our Cli-fi or Environmental Non-fiction booklist.

The Disaster Tourist by Yun Ko-eun
Yona works for a travel agency, Jungle, which arranges high-end vacations to areas ravaged by disasters: floods, avalanches, earthquakes, etc. Her most recent assignment is as an evaluator, joining four vacationers on an island off the coast of Vietnam with a somewhat lackluster sinkhole. With the local economy now entirely dependent on Jungle’s tourists, Yona discovers a plan to punch up the drama – and the danger. This is a fast-paced satire that interrogates issues of capitalism, tourism, and climate change. Continue reading “#BookBingoNW2021 Cli-fi or Environmental Non-fiction”

#BookBingoNW2021 Black Joy

A short list of good reads that can be applied to the Black Joy 2021 Book Bingo square. These are funny, romantic stories that follow Black characters whose best lives find them.

Girl Gurl Grrrl: On womanhood and belonging in the age of Black girl magic by Kenya Hunt, deputy editor of the fashion magazine Grazia UK, is an anthology of essays about her life and career, sharing the joys and trials of being a Black American in the UK. 

28-year-old Grace Porter goes on a girls’ trip to Vegas to celebrate in Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers, having just completed her PhD in astronomy. A straight-A high achiever, she is not the kind of person who goes to Vegas and gets drunkenly married to a woman she doesn’t know, until she does exactly that… Continue reading “#BookBingoNW2021 Black Joy”