I’m certainly not one to declare the book review dead, but I do think it’s the type of post that’s less engaging, less likely to be clicked on, less likely to be read… You get the idea. And, dear readers, I’m secure enough in my insecurity to admit I do want people to read what I write, if only to continue to share my love of whatever wonderful/quirky/clever/delightful/daunting/terrible book I just read. These are a few that made my honor roll, and here are the ones I don’t think you should miss**.
Sleeping Giants // Sylvain Neuvel. I love, love, LOVE this sci-fi novel. I am hit or miss with science fiction, but the interesting premise and the intriguing characters pulled me right in. When a little girl finds a giant hand near Deadwood, South Dakota, it changes the course of her life.
Waking Gods // Sylvain Neuvel. This action packed follow-up to Sleeping Giants keeps up the relentless pace. It’s a worthy sequel to Sleeping Giants begins ten years later and introduces new characters and old. The interview and journal entries continue to tell the story and serve as an excellent way to slowly reveal new developments. And that ending!
Hanna Who Fell From the Sky* // Christopher Meades. Do you ever read a book just based on the blurb? I do, and this one by Laline Paull is an excellent one: “A strange and beautiful fable with shades of Deliverance, Room, and Winter’s Bone.” Perhaps I went in expecting too much with hype like that? I’ll never know, but what I do know if I have a thing for books about cults, and this is one I enjoyed, but didn’t quite love. Hanna is about to be married off to a significantly older man who already has multiple wives. She lives in an isolated community, where her friends and family blindly follow Brother Paul, but as she learns more about herself, and more about the outside world, Hanna begins to want more for herself. It’s an interesting coming of age tale, recommended for other readers who enjoy fiction about polygamous cults with a tiny dash of magical realism.
Goodnight, Beautiful Women // Anna Noyes*. I love a good book set in Maine, and this interconnected set of short stories is a solid edition to that category. This is a dark, uncomfortable set of stories that examines the choices women have made, and their consequences.
The Haunting of Hill House // Shirley Jackson. “Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood so for eighty years and might stand for eighty more. Within, walls continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone.”
Fire Season // Philip Connors. A beautifully written testament to solitude and wilderness. A must read for those who dream of escaping it all.
*I received review copies of these books in exchange for my honest opinion.
**Although it’s quite possible I am the only one who missed them in the first place, as I wouldn’t exactly label these as under the radar.