Best Books of 2018

If you are looking for a new title to read, NPR has a huge variety of suggestions on their Best Books of 2018 site. You can choose from over 25 categories, complete with book covers and short descriptions of what you can expect from a particular title. One can also check previous years “best books” as well. It’s a good way to see some unexpected titles that you may be missing…

My Year of Rest and Relaxation

cover_imageA single, white woman in her 20’s decides she is going to spend the year sleeping as much as possible. We know that our main character (not named) is beautiful and financially stable due to the inheritance of her deceased parents.  She purchases an apartment on the Upper East Side- all cash- and quits her job at an art gallery. Finding a doctor in the yellow pages who indiscriminately prescribes medications that will send her sleeping for three days straight at a time, she awakens to eat animal crackers, watch endless movies on her VCR (this is the early 2000’s), pop some more pills and go back to sleep. Along the way we get  glimpses of her detached father, self-absorbed mother and intermittent, vain lover. She is an only child, now orphaned, who has only one friend: Reva.  She wakes up to stroll to the bodega down the street and then back home. The author lists her days something like this: watched ‘Working Girl’ 27 times, ate animal crackers, popped 4 Xanax, 3 Benadryl and woke up 2 days later. Reva is the most colorful character; a bulimic from Long Island having an affair with her boss who barges in to visit her friend, although our main character can barely tolerate her and passes out in the middle of conversations.  She laconically stumbles through the days, weeks and months of her life in a stupor.   ‘My Year of Rest’ is best read in the dark days of winter as you enter a chosen hibernation helped along with an overflowing pharmaceutical selection.

Literary Hub

For anyone who is a fan of books, check out the site Literary Hub. You will be amazed at the wealth of information compiled by its editors. It has partners across the spectrum: publishers, journals, bookstores and non-profits. I found an article on American Libraries Direct that referred to a list of the biggest fiction bestsellers of the past 100 years, according to Publishers Weekly, and there is a list for non-fiction as well. Articles, booklists, reviews, recommendations, interviews, podcasts, excerpts — you name it, it’s there. I found it to be a very comprehensive site for booklovers.

A Room Away From The Wolves

 

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A Room Away From the Wolves is one of my favorite authors, Nova Ren Suma’s new book. I will say this disclaimer for people who have not read anything by her before: expect to not know what is going on – ever. You will be confused, the chapters will be a little bit long, and there won’t necessarily be any answers at the end. However, it is all worth it. Her stories are intricate and surreal. Her characters are deep and dark. Just read it.

Bina has never forgotten the time she and her mother ran away from home. Her mother promised they would hitchhike to the city to escape Bina’s cruel father and start over. But before they could even leave town, Bina had a new stepfather and two new stepsisters, and a humming sense of betrayal pulling apart the bond with her mother—a bond Bina thought was unbreakable.

Eight years later, after too many lies and with trouble on her heels, Bina finds herself on the side of the road again, the city of her dreams calling for her. She has an old suitcase, a fresh black eye, and a room waiting for her at Catherine House, a young women’s residence in Greenwich Village with a tragic history, a vow of confidentiality, and dark, magical secrets. There, Bina is drawn to her enigmatic downstairs neighbor Monet, a girl who is equal parts intriguing and dangerous. As Bina’s lease begins to run out, and nightmare and memory get tangled, she will be forced to face the terrible truth of why she’s come to Catherine House and what it will take for her to leave. Can she ever leave? Can ANY of the girls?

Price of Duty

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I just finished reading Price of Duty by Todd Strasser. Admittedly, this is not normally the type of book that I would read. However, I am glad that I did as sometimes it is good to have a reminder of the issues that arise from the United States being a country that technically is at war.

The story follows Jake Liddell who has just returned home a “war hero” after being seriously injured when his convoy is attacked while he is deployed overseas. Many of his friends died. He saw and did things that are unimaginable.

The war has followed him back. He needs pills to get any sleep, a young woman is trying to persuade him into speaking out against military recruitment tactics, and his famous military general grandfather is already urging him back onto the battlefield. He doesn’t know what to do; nothing makes sense anymore. Will he do what is expected of him? Will he keep up the charade that the war in the Middle East is for a just cause?