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Friday Book Debrief Vol 20

Every week we’re sharing what our some of our writers are currently reading.

For all of our US readers, we now have our own Bookshop! You can find the full list of the below books here and with every purchase you will be helping local independent bookstores! If you do not live in the US please support your local independent stores, lots are now doing local deliveries and they need your help more then ever in these uncertain times. - ❤️

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo thebookslut book reviews the book slut

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo - Mel

Finally picked up this gem of a YA novel. The main character Emoni is so sweet and contemplative caring for her two-year-old while working through her senior year of high school and I can’t wait to see where the rest of the book will take her!

Buy it here.


 Oligarchy by Scarlett Thomas thebookslut book reviews

Oligarchy by Scarlett Thomas - Jessica

A readable YA boarding school tale that explores eating disorders, Instagram, and authority through a literary, well-crafted lens. This book is breaking my heart as it keeps me turning the pages at speed.

Buy it here.


We Have Always Lived In The Castle by Shirley Jackson thebookslut Jonathan Lethem (Introduction by) Shirley Jackson (Author) Thomas Ott (Illustrator) Shirley Jackson's beloved gothic tale of a peculiar girl named Merricat and her family's dark secret Taking readers deep into a labyrinth of dark neurosis, We Have Always Lived in the Castle is a deliciously unsettling novel about a perverse, isolated, and possibly murderous family and the struggle that ensues when a cousin arrives at their estate. This edition features a new introduction by Jonathan Lethem. For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators. Product Details Price: $17.00  $15.64 Publisher: Penguin Books Published Date: October 31, 2006 Pages: 146 Dimensions: 5.69 X 0.63 X 8.38 inches | 0.42 pounds Language: English Type: Paperback ISBN: 9780143039976 BISAC Categories: Literary thebookslut

We Have Always Lived In The Castle by Shirley Jackson - Maggie

My first novel by Shirley! I read her short story The Lottery in college and binged and jumped and cried to her The Haunting Of Hill House adaptation on Netflix. I found this book at a thrift store and knew I had to have it. I’m halfway done and on the edge of my seat!

Buy it here.


Heart's Wings and Other Stories by Gabriel Josipovici

Heart's Wings and Other Stories by Gabriel Josipovici - Akilah

I wanted to get out of the uncomfortably familiar, (sometimes) more or (often) less realist Caribbean narrative space for ground more distant, alien, with an author who could not be less interested in conventional character and narrative constructions. Hail, Gabriel Josipovici. In this collection's first story the main character is following a guide on a windy path to a house and is inside the house talking with the host about shifting windows as they drink champagne and (trying) to leave the house but alas is on his way to the house. Don't ask me what it means but I dig it.

Buy it here.


 The Overstory by Richard Powers thebookslut Winner of the William Dean Howells Medal #1 New York Times Bestseller Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize A New York Times Notable Book and a Washington Post, Time, Oprah Magazine, Newsweek, Chicago Tribune, and Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year  "The best novel ever written about trees, and really just one of the best novels, period." --Ann Patchett Product Details Price: $18.95  $17.43 Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company Published Date: April 02, 2019 Pages: 512 Dimensions: 5.5 X 1.3 X 8.1 inches | 1.25 pounds Language: English Type: Paperback ISBN: 9780393356687 BISAC Categories: Literary the book slut

The Overstory by Richard Powers - Alice-Rae

I'm about a quarter of the way through The Overstory, and am finding it is the perfect book to lose myself in during these times. The writing by Powers is so lyrical and evocative, I feel as though I'm there and I've escaped this weird world we're in right now!

Buy it here.


Remedies by Kate Ledger - Melissa

I've never read anything by Kate Ledger before, but this premise really interested me. I'm a sucker for a family drama with a heavy focus on grief. Simon and Emily Bear are slogging through life, still scarred from the loss of their infant son over a decade ago. Add in a teenage daughter with problems of her own, and this story is sure to be layered.


 If, Then by Kate Hope Day the book slut "A must-read--a gorgeous literary novel that asks us to imagine all the possible versions of ourselves that might exist."--J. Courtney Sullivan, New York Times bestselling author of Saints for All Occasions The residents of a sleepy mountain town are rocked by troubling visions of an alternate reality in this dazzling debut that combines the family-driven suspense of Celeste Ng's Little Fires Everywhere with the inventive storytelling of The Immortalists. In the quiet haven of Clearing, Oregon, four neighbors find their lives upended when they begin to see themselves in parallel realities. Ginny, a devoted surgeon whose work often takes precedence over her family, has a baffling vision of a beautiful co-worker in Ginny's own bed and begins to doubt the solidity of her marriage. Ginny's husband, Mark, a wildlife scientist, sees a vision that suggests impending devastation and grows increasingly paranoid, threatening the safety of his wife and son. Samara, a young woman desperately mourning the recent death of her mother and questioning why her father seems to be coping with such ease, witnesses an apparition of her mother healthy and vibrant and wonders about the secrets her parents may have kept from her. Cass, a brilliant scholar struggling with the demands of new motherhood, catches a glimpse of herself pregnant again, just as she's on the brink of returning to the project that could define her career. At first the visions are relatively benign, but they grow increasingly disturbing--and, in some cases, frightening. When a natural disaster threatens Clearing, it becomes obvious that the visions were not what they first seemed and that the town will never be the same. Startling, deeply imagined, and compulsively readable, Kate Hope Day's debut novel is about the choices we make that shape our lives and determine our destinies--the moments that alter us so profoundly that it feels as if we've entered another reality. Praise for If, Then "Hope Day has a lot of sly, stealthy fun with time-bending and parallel universes, but she also has serious things to say on urban paranoia, climate change and the atomized nature of modern life."--Daily Mail "If, Then has the narrative propulsion of a television show . . . [It's] a whirlwind of a story."--Chicago Review of Books "Effortlessly meshing the dreamlike and the realistic, [Kate Hope] Day's well-crafted mix of literary and speculative fiction is an enthralling meditation on the interconnectedness of all things."--Publishers Weekly (starred review) Product Details Price: $16.00  $14.72 Publisher: Random House Trade Published Date: February 04, 2020 Pages: 288 Dimensions: 5.2 X 0.7 X 8.0 inches | 0.55 pounds Language: English Type: Paperback ISBN: 9780525511243 BISAC Categories: Literary thebookslut

If, Then by Kate Hope Day - Nikki

I got this as an ARC over a year ago and decided to crack it open the other day knowing nothing about the story. AND IT'S AMAZING. We’ve got alternate realities, trippy visions, and atmospheric Oregon scenery. Into it.

Buy it here.


A Constant Hum by Alice Bishop - Cat

Alice Bishop's short story collection has received buckets of praise from Australian readers and seemed like a perfect read for me in #aussieapril. This beautifully written book focuses on life in the aftermath of a catastrophic bushfire, reminding me of the many fire-affected communities whose lives had already been changed forever such a short time before the pandemic. Delicate and lush, emotional and thought-provoking, these stories feel very real to my own experiences and observations of life in bushfire-prone regions of Australia.


 The Sin Eater by Megan Campisi thebookslut The Handmaid's Tale meets Alice in Wonderland in this gripping and imaginative historical novel about a shunned orphan girl in 16th-century England who is ensnared in a deadly royal plot and must turn her subjugation into her power. The Sin Eater walks among us, unseen, unheard Sins of our flesh become sins of Hers Following Her to the grave, unseen, unheard The Sin Eater Walks Among Us. For the crime of stealing bread, fourteen-year-old May receives a life sentence: she must become a Sin Eater--a shunned woman, brutally marked, whose fate is to hear the final confessions of the dying, eat ritual foods symbolizing their sins as a funeral rite, and thereby shoulder their transgressions to grant their souls access to heaven. Orphaned and friendless, apprenticed to an older Sin Eater who cannot speak to her, May must make her way in a dangerous and cruel world she barely understands. When a deer heart appears on the coffin of a royal governess who did not confess to the dreadful sin it represents, the older Sin Eater refuses to eat it. She is taken to prison, tortured, and killed. To avenge her death, May must find out who placed the deer heart on the coffin and why. "A keenly researched feminist arc of unexpected abundance, reckoning, intellect, and ferocious survival" (Maria Dahvana Headley, author of The Mere Wife) Sin Eater is "a dark, rich story replete with humor, unforgettable characters, and arcane mysteries. It casts a spell on your heart and mind until the final page" (Jennie Melamed, author of Gather the Daughters). Product Details Price: $27.00  $24.30 Publisher: Atria Books Published Date: April 07, 2020 Pages: 304 Dimensions: 6.0 X 1.3 X 9.4 inches | 1.0 pounds Language: English Type: Hardcover ISBN: 9781982124106 BISAC Categories: Historical - General book reviews the book slut

The Sin Eater by Megan Campisi - Courtney

An extraordinarily unique historical fantasy, with a bit of conspiracy. A classic story of a woman breaking the rules & going against society, something we all know and love. <3

Buy it here.


Cockfight by María Fernanda Ampuero Frances Riddle (Translator) thebookslut Named one of the ten best fiction books of 2018 by the New York Times en Español, Cockfight is the debut work by Ecuadorian writer and journalist María Fernanda Ampuero. In lucid and compelling prose, Ampuero sheds light on the hidden aspects of home: the grotesque realities of family, coming of age, religion, and class struggle. A family's maids witness a horrible cycle of abuse, a girl is auctioned off by a gang of criminals, and two sisters find themselves at the mercy of their spiteful brother. With violence masquerading as love, characters spend their lives trapped reenacting their past traumas. Heralding a brutal and singular new voice, Cockfight explores the power of the home to both create and destroy those within it. Product Details Price: $15.95  $14.67 Publisher: Feminist Press Published Date: May 05, 2020 Pages: 128 Dimensions: 5.2 X 0.5 X 7.9 inches | 0.35 pounds Language: English Type: Paperback ISBN: 9781936932825 BISAC Categories: Hispanic & Latino

Cockfight by María Fernanda Ampuero - Marian

I have delved into the world of Ecuadorian literature with this collection of short stories. The stories allow you to peer into the lives of family life rife with incidents of poverty, abuse, trauma, and sexual abuse. To say that this is a delightful read is off base. Ampuero’s stories are astonishing feminist tales of young women and girls being bound by patriarchy manifested as sexual violence, trauma, and misogyny. I have read half the book and am completely wrecked by it.

Buy it here.


Real Life Brandon Taylor thebookslut book reviews the book slut Product Details Price: $26.00  $23.40 Publisher: Riverhead Books Published Date: February 18, 2020 Pages: 336 Dimensions: 5.3 X 1.3 X 8.1 inches | 0.85 pounds Language: English Type: Hardcover ISBN: 9780525538882

Real Life by Brandon Taylor - Jessica Maria

With a premise that sounds like a campus novel, this meditative portrait of a black graduate student at a midwestern university dives in so deep on the human condition. I'm mesmerized.

Buy it here.


what have you been reading this week?

Sending lots of love to wherever you are in the world, from all of us at

the book slut. x


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