Category Archives: Fiction

Not a Self-Help Book: The Misadventures of Marty Wu

 yishunlai_cover

Not a Self-Help Book: The Misadventures of Marty Wu

Yi Shun Lai

2016

We are Here:  Done! (Just in time for Mother’s Day.)

Spoilers?     Vaguely

Reflections

The debut novel of author Yi Shun Lai chronicles a few months in the life of a floundering young woman named Marty. A late-20-something mess in spiraling free-fall, Marty reluctantly allows her mother’s acerbic net to catch and redeposit her in Taiwan for a summer of familial intrigue, pseudo-redemption, and TEOSL.
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Reality and Me all Capeless

Reality and Me all Capeless book cover

Reality and Me all Capeless

Fennel Steuert

2016

We are Here:  Done!

Spoilers?     A few plot points

Reflections

This novel explores the complex ramifications that even tangential fame can have on our relationships through a teenager named Finbar (Fin), who finds himself the star of a reality show about personal fitness. It’s not often that a novel centers the perspective of a low-income character of color who has a learning disability. We need diverse books, and Steuert delivers.
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Oryx and Crake

"Oryx and Crake" by Margaret Atwood book cover

Oryx and Crake

Margaret Atwood

2003

We are Here:  Done!

Spoilers?     Yes; grumpy ones.

Reflections

As a deep admirer of Atwood’s work, burgeoning fan of post-apocalyptic fiction, and binge-watcher of medical sci-fi shows like Orphan Black, I thought I would enjoy this book much more than I did.
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A Darkling Sea

A Darkling Sea book cover

A Darkling Sea

James L. Cambias

2014

We are Here:  Done!

Spoilers?     A few

Reflections

I’ve been waiting nearly two years to read this book, ever since Annalee Newitz reviewed it for NPR. But I prefer to wait for a book’s paperback release. Unfortunately, even after this was out in paperback, I couldn’t find it at my local bookstores. For all its accolades, it had been relegated to Obscure Title status. I had to enlist my brother to patronize @m@z0n for my birthday.

Worth the wait? Eh…
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Vampires in the Lemon Grove

Vampires in the Lemon Grove

Karen Russell

2013

Vampires in the Lemon Grove book cover

We are Here:  Done!

Spoilers?     Perhaps

Reflections

I often questioned whether I should be reading these stories right before bed…and yet I was compelled to turn the pages until I drifted to sleep, taking my chances with my unconscious. The collection contains disparate genres that all do the same work to varying degrees. That is, they are mildly to deeply unsettling.
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