Monday, September 24, 2018

Mort by Terry Pratchett

Death takes an assistant: a bumbling kid from nowheresville with no real talent. When he's given a to-do list and a bit of responsibility, things don't go quite right because Mort falls for the supposed-to-die princess and alters the plan. But destiny isn't joking around.

It's a Shakespearean-style story with lots of twists, and fate, and love (or not). Pratchett is always very funny, but giving Death his own story - and mid-life crisis - allows a special kind of dark comedy.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I've Loved by Kate Bowler

When a professor of religion gets cancer, there's some introspection. You may enjoy that, or not.

But the main reason to read this, anyway, are two appendices at the back: "Absolutely Never Say This to People Experiencing Terrible Times: A Short List" and "Give This a Go, See How It Works: A Short List."

Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor

Every action in a small town issues ripples that reverberate farther and longer than one might imagine; in this book, the disappearance of a teenage girl affects the next 13 years of the village's seasonal cycles.

We've become accustomed to every event in a book leading to the next big reveal, which gives this book a strange, eerie electricity because nothing ever happens. Chapters are years, and paragraphs are generally months. It's a stream-of-conscious retelling of things, with no real emphasis put on more or less important events: the birds migrate, trees bud, the well gets decorated, kids go to school (or not), dogs are walked, marriages begin and end, and sex is had.

Which isn't to say it it's boring - I really enjoyed the ebb and flow of life in this small English village. It's a peaceful read, and I found it a relaxing wind-down at the end of my day.

This book was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize in 2017 (which eventually went to Lincoln in the Bardo).