Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Staff Recommendations, Week of July 26, 2022

Happy new book day. Hooray for Tuesday!, as say The Minders. But nevermind that. On to the new book recommendations from the Boswellians.

First up is Jason Kennedy on The Awoken by Katelyn Monroe Howes: "Alabine Rivers receives a cancer diagnosis just as her adult life is about to start. She’s working a job she hopes will lead her into public office, and she's just started dating someone that could be the one. Everything is good until the cancer's hard stop. She decides to take part in a cryogenics study and preserved until a time that society can cure her disease. Fast forward a hundred years; upon waking, Alabine finds a world that looks nothing like the one she left, and she has enemies hunting her. I found Katelyn Howes descriptions of how the American century could unfold fascinating, bleak, and all too believable. Looking at what is happening in our world right now, the divisiveness that cryogenics and the fear of the unknown ignites is all too likely to occur.  Miraculously, Alabine wants this new world, and with her lucid dreams of her previous life, she strives for survival and acceptance."

Next, Kay Wosewick on The Last to Vanish by Megan Miranda: "A small town near the Appalachian Trail attracts curious visitors who hope to solve the mystery of vanished tourists. Three months ago the seventh person in 25 years disappeared without a trace. An almost claustrophobic setting where everyone has secrets helps build tension to the twisty end. What a ride!"

And out in paperback this week, we've got recommendations from both Tim McCarthy and Daniel Goldin for Brood by Jackie Polzin. First, from Tim: "Give it some time. That’s my advice about Brood. Let the book peck at you for a while and you’ll be rewarded. I didn’t know that I completely loved it until the last three pages. Then I suddenly knew. Completely. This book is all of life told in the story of four backyard chickens. Our narrator’s voice comes straight at us - a bit sassy, sly, mostly sure-minded - even as she maintains a subtle neighborhood diplomacy. The contrast is wonderful. Chickens help her tell us boldly about loss and the inescapable hardships of living, but she’s not bitter. She sees the beautiful workings of her simple birds, and of people: her chicken-hesitant friend Helen, her staunchly independent mother, her very reasonable husband Percy, the awkward neighbors, and how all of life creates dust. Mix in Minnesota’s climate extremes and a changing neighborhood. You’ll get a growing sense that you’re reading something very special, richly human. Let Brood peck at you. There’s nothing quite like it."

Next, from Daniel: "When our nameless narrator muses that her four chickens – Miss Hennepin County, Gloria, Darkness, and Gam Gam – have no memory of the past or anxiety about the future, it is meant with desire, not disdain. Our heartland chicken keeper must confront both large and small losses all while making sure she’s got just the right kind of pellets. I’m not giving anything important away in this hauntingly meditative yet often funny novel by saying there’s a sort of an And Then There Were None element to the plotline - my inner voice kept trying to cajole the narrator to just buy another chicken. Several folks have compared the voice to Jenny Offill and Olivia Laing, but my thoughts ran to another Minnesota sleeper that was a bookseller favorite, Julie Schumacher’s Dear Committee Members."

These are the recs! (And this is the song to which I always sing that sentence to myself.) See you next week, dear readers.

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