June. What a month. Normally, this is a recap of my reading, but no matter how I try to stick to the subject of books my brain refuses to cooperate. By this time next week we’ll be starting the 2,200 mile trip from Ann Arbor to Seattle. The unending list of what needs to be done before then is one of the things that has me awake at 4am. But that’s not it, I can power through mud brain.
The problem? I am incandescent with rage. So much so I’m pretty sure my hair is on fire. It’s all I want to write about, to act on. But this is a book blog so for now I’ll hold myself back. Except, in the same way the line between church and state is rapidly disappearing in this country so is my self-control. I AM ANGRY.
I’ll be taking a break from the blog for the first two weeks of July while we move and then live in a hotel awaiting our furniture to get to Seattle. Until then, here’s where my June reading led me.
A lonely British estate, a young girl, a theatrical man, and a dead body. These are the components in The Maker of Swans a novel about art, the muse, responsibility, and magic. Everything was there and remained well enough in place that I needed to finish the story, but by 80% it felt as if the author had lost control of the book. I appreciated the mystical attributes given to the act of creating art, but the ending got muddy.
Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel: Loved this, review to follow.
June was not the right time for The City Inside. I had to bail out. Set in Delhi at an unspecified time in the future it’s about the invasion of technology via ‘social’ means into every aspect of our lives. The only difference from now is that humans aren’t monitoring AI and algorithms control everything. I only got 10% in and was too stressed to continue. My toothbrush listening to me and relaying data back to the manufacturer AND the government?! What’s next—government tracking of women’s menstrual cycles? Oh, wait…
Nightcrawling by Leila Mottley: Powerful, dark novel of one young girl’s efforts to survive on her own. Review to follow
The next book in the Fractured Fables series, The Mirror Mended brings Zinnia into the world of Snow White’s “evil” stepmother. Another thought-provoking and humorous unmasking of the misogyny inherent in fairytales, but not as engaging as the first book, Spindle.
The Year of the Horses by Courtney Maum: fabulous memoir. Review to follow
How to review (even quickly) a novel I’m not sure I fully understood? Trust is a gorgeous piece of literary fiction that is essentially 4 books in one. The first is an unflattering novella published in 1937 about an extraordinarily wealthy man who used his insight and mathematical genius to short the stock market and cause the crash of ’29. The second is the grandiose autobiography of the real financier written to counteract the ‘inaccuracies’ in the novella. The 3rd part is written by the woman who helped the financier write his biography. The 4th part I’ll leave a mystery, but it’s a memoir. All four parts are variations on the same slice of history and one man. Only the perspective changes.
Trust is a stunning literary achievement, the writing is exquisite, but I was left with far more questions after reading than before I began. If you want to be challenged by reading on the sticky wickets of capitalism, ethics, greed, marriage, mental health, history, and truth this is a singular piece of fiction.
How was your June reading? Want to vent? Feel free…
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*I received a free copy of The Maker of Swans from Tin House and A Mirror Mended from Tor in exchange for an honest review.*