Hello readers! Here’s a look at what I read this week:
Jazz Bashara lives in Artemis, a city of about 2,000 people that is located… on the moon. Estranged from her father, Jazz lives in a tiny cubicle and makes her living as a smuggler, bringing rare and illegal Earth items to the citizens of Artemis. At the beginning of the story, one of her best customers asks Jazz to pull off a different type of crime, more risky, but much more profitable. Jazz agrees to the work but soon finds herself in trouble – with the Artemis police, government, and the underground mafia that operates there. She has to rely on her intelligence and street smarts, as well as a few trusted friends, to save her life and life for everyone on Artemis.
Fans of Andy Weir’s previous book, The Martian will also like this one. Although it is not as heavy on the science, there is still plenty of technical jargon, but Weir writes in a way that makes it fun and interesting to read and understand. This was a really fun and funny book, with quirky characters and several laugh out loud scenes. If you love science fiction, you will probably like The Martian better than this one, but if you are new to the genre or want an easier read, then give this one a try.
This book comes out November 14th. Thanks to NetGalley for a free advanced copy; I am happy to give my honesty review.
When this book opens, Lydia, the middle child of a Chinese American family, is dead. She has drowned in a lake near her home. This is not a spoiler; it’s literally the first sentence of the book. The rest of the story goes back in time to her parents’ childhoods, their early marriage, and the events that shaped them into the people they are, which ultimately shaped their three children into their own personalities, and led to Lydia’s death.
First I want to say that I love Celeste NG’s writing. There were times when I was really angry at the parents in this book, and had to remind myself, “These are fictional characters!”. When you can feel that much emotion, good or bad, while reading, you know the writing is really stellar. Having said that, this is not a happy book. There is no happy ending – Lydia died, and the family has to deal with that loss. There’s maybe some hopefulness and a light at the end of the tunnel by the end of the book, but this is not a feel good book. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t read it; it fact I think you’d be missing something really great if you skipped this. But don’t read it on a day when you are down; this is not a pick me up. But if you can get over that, there is a lot to enjoy about the writing in this book. The author does a great job of getting into each character’s head and telling us what they are thinking, what they don’t dare talk about with the rest of their family. The whole time you are able to see that all of their issues were solvable, had they just communicated better. Instead each character acted based on what they thought the other family members wanted, which turned out to be disastrous in the end.
Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf
This is a short little book, about a seventy year old woman named Addie, who has been living alone for many years, since the death of her husband. One night she goes to visit her neighbor Louis, a widower, who lives down the street. She proposes that since they are both lonely, maybe they should keep each other company at night. Louis agrees, and as the two get to know each other they have to deal with the repercussions of having a non-traditional relationship in a small town where everyone knows each other’s business.
This book reminded me of The Bridges of Madison County, and I read the book after discovering that it has been turned into a Netflix movie, starring Jane Fonda and Robert Redford. At just 179 pages, this little gem is worth the read. The main characters show us that happiness and love, at any age, is worth pursuing.
That’s all for this week – happy reading!