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Friday Book Debrief Vol 39

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. - ❤️

The Glass Hotel by Emily St John Mandel - Alice-Rae

Although I’m only a couple of chapters in, I can already feel that this book has the dramatic pull and other-worldly feel that Station Eleven had. Mandel effortlessly weaves between years, even decades in the space of a few pages and already I have such a sense of who the characters are, but no idea where the story is going to go.


Do You Dream of Terra-Two? by Temi Oh - Aleks

Do you ever wish that Lord of the Flies had been written with roughly 1000 times the nuance and compassion, and that it also had a more diverse cast of characters in almost every way possible, including but by no means limited to their individual psychology and responses to stress? And that it might address dynamics between kids and adults rather than just between kids? And that it might take place in space on the way to a distant Earth-like planet that no one's really sure exists through the entirety of the book? And that it was just way better? This is the book for you.


Kokomo by Victoria Hannan - Courtney

Mina’s mother, Elaine, hasn’t left her house in 12 years. Mina gets a call from her best friend one day to say her mother has been seen in the street. Mina now knows she must return back to Australia after living in London for 7 years. I am about halfway through Kokomo and the writing is so readable and quite evocative. I am really enjoying the way the reader, much like Mina, is clueless to whether Elaine has actually left the house or not, or why she’s been reclusive for so long. Kokomo interweaves sub-plots of love, friendship, work and grief under the umbrella of what I would call a literary mystery.


Circe by Madeline Miller - Maggie

This book was slow to start, but now I am 100 pages in and can’t wait to see where it goes. I love Greek mythology from my humanities days in high school. This is perfect for anyone who loves magic, mythology, and witchcraft.


After the Last Border by Jessica Goudeau - Mel

Compiled here are two very different but equally difficult stories of families fleeing danger in their home countries in order to survive as refugees elsewhere, ultimately in America. To drive home the weight of their situations, the author intersperses the chapters on the families with a history lesson on how accepting (or not) the Western world has been to refugees.


Bezoar and Other Unsettling Stories by Guadalupe Nettel (Translated from the Spanish by Suzanne Jill Levine) - Karen

When Samanta Schweblin blurbs a novel as "a delicate, magnetic carousel" you know that something special is coming your way. This is my second Nettel and I am so excited to read this collection of short stories. I am constantly thrown off by her stories, she shakes me, she makes me think, and she leaves a bruise I want to touch every time I leave her pages. This truly is the perfect collection for my literary voyeuristic heart.


Late in the Day by Tessa Hadley - Cat

Intimacy is the main word that comes to mind when reading this novel. Indoor settings, close quarters and closer relationships, characters who have known - or tried to know - one another for years. Tessa Hadley has created an insightful, beautifully drawn character study that keeps the reader close as it explores grief, loss, friendship, ambition, art and love. There's much to appreciate in Hadley's writing, but I'm not entirely certain how I feel about the novel as a whole just yet.


The Lying Life of Adults by Elena Ferrante (Translated from the Italian by Ann Goldstein) - Jessica Maria

Here’s the thing about this book that was released this week and I meant to have an entire thorough review for by Sep 1st: it had a printing error! I got to page 180 and the next page was not 181 but 146, and then the pages continued repeated until page 216. I had to await a new copy to get back to reading. And that’s what I shall spend my weekend doing, and hopefully with that entire thorough review, going between the marginalia of two different books. The story’s delectable, per usual. Just ask Natalie Portman.


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