Friday, May 30, 2014

Book Recs and Writing Specs: May 29, 2014 (which is mostly certainly today's date)

hey guys pretend it's Thursday.

Am I going to call this series that? I think I just might. In fact, I will make a little banner for it.

Yeah, that's a good idea. I think I'll do this every Thursday from now one because why not.

Actually, both the books I want to talk about today are ones that I just finished last week. Radical.

Right, here we go.

1. A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozaki

Ruth Ozeki's third novel, shortlisted for The Man Booker Prize 2013. In Tokyo, sixteen-year-old Nao has decided there’s only one escape from her aching loneliness and her classmates’ bullying. But before she ends it all, Nao plans to document the life of her great-grandmother, a Buddhist nun who’s lived more than a century. A diary is Nao’s only solace—and will touch lives in a ways she can scarcely imagine.

 Across the Pacific, we meet Ruth, a novelist living on a remote island who discovers a collection of artifacts washed ashore in a Hello Kitty lunchbox—possibly debris from the devastating 2011 tsunami. As the mystery of its contents unfolds, Ruth is pulled into the past, into Nao’s drama and her unknown fate, and forward into her own future.

 Full of Ozeki’s signature humour and deeply engaged with the relationship between writer and reader, past and present, fact and fiction, quantum physics, history, and myth, A Tale for the Time Being is a brilliantly inventive, beguiling story of our shared humanity and the search for home

Quick and Dirty Review
I started this book a while ago, back in late April when I flew to San Francisco to see The National play at Berkley, which sounds like something to do a post about, come to think of it. Anyway, I finally finished it last weekend, a delay that I attribute more to finals than a lack of interest. I recommend this book on the off-chance that you're hungering for a dual narrative pseudo-memoir featuring quantum mechanics; Zen Buddhism; modern Japanese culture; cats; philosophical explorations of our concepts of Big Things, like heroism, life, death, time, individuality, human existence itself; cats; and dead French writers, all bound up with sublime imagery and compelling characters.

2. Until We End by Frankie Brown

It's been nine months since the virus hit, killing almost everyone it touched. Seventeen-year-old Cora and her little brother, Coby, haven't left home since. Not after the power cut out; not even after sirens faded in the distance and the world outside their backyard fence fell silent. But when a blistering drought forces Cora to go in search of water, she discovers that the post-apocalyptic world isn't as deserted as she thought when she meets Brooks, a drop-dead sexy army deserter. 

Fighting their way back home, Cora finds her house ransacked and Coby missing - kidnapped by the military for dangerous medical experiments in the name of finding a cure. Brooks knows exactly where Cora can find her brother, except he says it's a suicide mission. Cora doesn't care. But Brooks can't let her go...

Quick and Dirty Review
There are a lot of young adult post-apocalyptic novels on the market right now. And I don't have to tell you that about ninety-three percent of them are the same tired love triangles oppressed by an evil government that installed itself after whatever catastrophe.

Frankie Brown Until We End's is a happy exception. This book was so engaging to me because of the emphasis placed on the main character Cora's relationship with her brother. Rather than romantic love or revolution or saving the world propelling the story along, this plot is guided by the bond between a girl and her kid brother. And that's honestly refreshing.

Plus, Cora was a total badass.

As for my writing--which I get to talk about because this my blog ahaha yeah woo egotism--things are, you know, going. I've found a couple of people to beta swap with to work on the fourth draft of Dreaming of Crowds, my autistic werewolf book. I'll throw up a page about it and link it here later, so you know what I'm going on about. Today I'm reworking a couple of scenes and doing my last hardcopy edit before I send it along.

*cue hyperventilating*

Thanks for reading, gang.

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