By: Blake Crouch
Format/Source: Mass market paperback; my purchase
“Are you happy with your life?”
Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious.
Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits.
Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.”
In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor, but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible.
Is it this world or the other that’s the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could’ve imagined—one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.
From the author of the bestselling Wayward Pines trilogy, Dark Matter is a brilliantly plotted tale that is at once sweeping and intimate, mind-bendingly strange and profoundly human—a relentlessly surprising science-fiction thriller about choices, paths not taken, and how far we’ll go to claim the lives we dream of.
Since hitting mass market paperback format, this book has sort of been following me around whenever I’m at the bookstore, lol. I had heard of it since it was first released but it was only more recently that it was finding its way further up the wishlist. As I was looking for a book to read when I went on holiday a few months ago I decided this would make for a good read. Unfortunately I didn’t get much reading doing during my vacation (opting to either be writing or sleeping when I wasn’t taking photos and wandering about) so I only got around to really reading this book when I got back.
Dispute Over a Very Italian Piglet
By: Amara Lakhous
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase
It’s October 2006. In a few months Romania will join the European Union. Meanwhile, the northern Italian town of Turin has been rocked by a series of deadly crimes involving Albanians and Romanians. Is this the latest eruption of a clan feud dating back centuries, or is the trouble being incited by local organized crime syndicates who routinely “infect” neighborhoods and then “cleanse” them in order to earn big on property developments? Enzo Laganà, born in Turin to Southern Italian parents, is a journalist with a wry sense of humor who is determined to get to the bottom of this crime wave. But before he can do so, he has to settle a thorny issue concerning Gino, a small pig belonging to his Nigerian neighbor, Joseph. Who brought the pig to the neighborhood mosque? And for heaven’s sake why?
I’ve been eyeing this book for years. From the intriguing and absurd title to the Italian setting to the timely issues of immigration in the EU at the time with the expansion of members, I was very keen to read it. After having it on my wishlist for ages, I finally picked it up a few months ago–yay! 🙂
Lincoln in the Bardo
By: George Saunders
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase
February 1862. The Civil War is less than one year old. The fighting has begun in earnest, and the nation has begun to realize it is in for a long, bloody struggle. Meanwhile, President Lincoln’s beloved eleven-year-old son, Willie, lies upstairs in the White House, gravely ill. In a matter of days, despite predictions of a recovery, Willie dies and is laid to rest in a Georgetown cemetery. “My poor boy, he was too good for this earth,” the president says at the time. “God has called him home.” Newspapers report that a grief-stricken Lincoln returned to the crypt several times alone to hold his boy’s body.
From that seed of historical truth, George Saunders spins an unforgettable story of familial love and loss that breaks free of its realistic, historical framework into a thrilling, supernatural realm both hilarious and terrifying. Willie Lincoln finds himself in a strange purgatory, where ghosts mingle, gripe, commiserate, quarrel, and enact bizarre acts of penance. Within this transitional state—called, in the Tibetan tradition, the bardo—a monumental struggle erupts over young Willie’s soul.
Lincoln in the Bardo is an astonishing feat of imagination and a bold step forward from one of the most important and influential writers of his generation. Formally daring, generous in spirit, deeply concerned with matters of the heart, it is a testament to fiction’s ability to speak honestly and powerfully to the things that really matter to us. Saunders has invented a thrilling new form that deploys a kaleidoscopic, theatrical panorama of voices—living and dead, historical and invented—to ask a timeless, profound question: How do we live and love when we know that everything we love must end?
Fun fact: I was originally planning on bringing this book with me when I went on holiday to Portugal a few weeks ago but decided to start reading it instead as it was sort of just staring at me balefully (plus, I wasn’t sure if it was going to be too hefty a read on the plane).
The Death of Dulgath (The Riyria Chronicles #3)
By: Michael J. Sullivan
Format/Source: eBook; supported the Kickstarter project
Three times they tried to kill her. Then professionals were hired. So was Riyria.
When the last member of the oldest noble family in Avryn is targeted for assassination, Riyria’s Royce and Hadrian are hired to foil the plot. Three years have passed since Hadrian, the war-weary mercenary, and Royce, the cynical ex-assassin joined forces to become rogues-for-hire. All has gone well until they’re asked to help prevent a murder. Now they must venture into an ancient corner of the world to save a mysterious woman who knows more about Royce than is safe, and cares less about herself than is sane.
So this is actually how I was prompted to check out the Riyria Chronicles: I had heard that Orbit didn’t pick up the rest of the series for some reason but the premise of the novel sounded really interesting to I supported the Kickstarter to fund the publication of this book. Like the other books in the series it sort of sat on my TBR pile for a while but here we are now 🙂
By: Anne Michaels
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase
Prior to her stunning first novel, Fugitive Pieces, Anne Michaels had already won awards and critical acclaim for two books of poetry: The Weight of Oranges (1986), which won the Commonwealth Prize for the Americas, and Miner’s Pond (1991), which received the Canadian Authors Association Award and was short-listed for the Governor General’s Award and the Trillium Award. Although they were published separately, these two books, along with Skin Divers, a collection of Michaels’s newest work, were written as companion volumes.
Poems brings all three books together for the first time, creating for American readers a wonderful introduction to Anne Michaels’s poetry. Meditative and insightful, powerful and heart-moving, these are poems that, as Michael Ondaatje has written, “go way beyond games or fashion or politics . . . They represent the human being entire.”
I read her latest poetry collection, All We Saw (review) earlier this year and really enjoyed it so I decided to check out her earlier poetry. I’m glad they released it as a collected volume, which is quite handy.
Reading this collection was really interesting. Definitely felt different than her latest collection, a lot of the poems were longer (All We Saw I found had more shorter poetry, in reflection of the themes and experiences she was writing about) and they all told a story–mostly biographical–in lyrical language. i loved some of the descriptors she used, I never thought of using them in such a way but they were absolutely wonderful in her writings. Stories about her family, her experiences, about love…I can’t say it lingered long after I read it compared to other poetry collections but I thoroughly enjoyed it nonetheless and highly recommend checking out her poetry if you’re looking for more Canadian poets to read.
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