Oct. 31st, 2015

book recs

Oct. 31st, 2015 07:39 pm
sophinisba: Kalinda in a black bra, orange neon sign says "HOT" (kalinda hot by winterfish)
Here is another weekend without a fanworks rec post from me, but also here are two books I've recently enjoyed:

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel is a novel that takes place mostly some years after a flu pandemic wipes out most of the human race and civilization. Most people in North American survive in tiny little towns built up in places where there used to be businesses, and there's a group of actors and musicians that travels from town to town. There are also parts that take place before and during the pandemic but the focus is mostly on human relationships rather than science or illness or worldbuilding. I loved this book a lot!

I heard about The Turner House by Angela Flournoy just recently when it was nominated for a National Book Award. It's about a large black family in Detroit and takes place mostly in 2008 when they find out they owe more on their old house than it's worth, but also some in the 1940s when the father first moved Up North from Arkansas, plus some memories in between. Again, it's not heavy on plot so much as what the people in this family mean to each other, and they all felt so real and human. It reminded me a little of the TV show Treme with its large cast of characters who are all flawed but basically decent people trying to get by. Also an interesting and sad look at changes in some of Detroit's neighborhoods over the decades that made me want to learn more. (I might try reading The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit by Thomas Sugrue the next time I feel like reading a nonfiction book not for work.

In between Station Eleven and The Turner House I read another novel that I liked less, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. I think I saw [personal profile] chaila say a while back that anything the publishers try to sell as "the next Gone Girl" will inevitably turn out to be disappointing and that's how this was for me, though it definitely kept me turning the pages. Nevertheless the next book I'm looking forward to reading is Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff, which is also being marketed that way (and also a finalist for a National Book Award).

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