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Paul's Books of the Days of the Week

Less, by Andrew Sean Greer -  A single gay man feels a mid-life crisis approaching and decides to embark on his Year of Yes; saying yes to every invitation and opportunity that comes his way. It's almost a book split in two, it starts as an effervescent globe-trot but ends up serving a giant mirror into the choices and places we find ourselves in. A warm-hearted funny novel about facing uncomfortable truths and growing up into second adulthood. (2018 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction)

 

The Dutch House, by Ann Patchett - Layers of family and step family are anchored in a grand Philadelphia home, as wealth and poverty threaten the legacy their patriarch fought to ensure. At core of the novel are the brother and sister who stick with each other and prove the enduring relationships of siblings. 

Transcendent Kingdom, by Yaa Gyasi - I *really* enjoyed her first book Homegoing, and while I haven't yet read her second, it's on my short list. A young Ghanian woman in the final years of her neuroscience degree feels the pull of her traditional family's evangelical beliefs as she tries to reconcile addiction and pain through two lenses of science and faith. 

 

 

Writers and Lovers by Lily King - A young aspiring writer arrives in a new city at the beginning of adulthood as she navigates the death of her mother and the loss of a relationship. The determination to 'live the creative life' starts to wither under the expectations of what the world demands of her.

 

Girl Woman Other, by Bernadine Evaristo - a novel teeming with voices and perspectives in contemporary Black Britain. Twelve different characters share their experiences over the decades. (shared last year's Booker Prize with Margaret Atwood)

Overstory - by Richard Powers - One of my absolute favourites of 2019. Another polyphonic novel; several interconnected stories of humans and their relationships with trees. An arborist, an eco-terrorist, a photographer, a 19th century Norwegian farmer, a Wall Street executive find their lives bound together. You won't look at trees the same way after reading this one.

 

 

Weather by Jeny Offill - a podcast producer/grad student finds it increasingly difficult to maintain the normal rhythms of life and happiness as she finds herself more and more surrounded by disaster psychology and end-of-the-world doomsdayers. Funnier than it sounds!

 

 

 

Fake Accounts by Lauren Oyler -  as Trump's inauguration looms a woman discovers her partner is an online conspiracy theorist. The end of the relationship begins a new phase where she moves overseas and discovers how easy and almost comforting it can be to live in the anonymous online world.

 

 

 

Leave the World Behind by Rumi Alaam - A New York family arrives at a remote Long Island holiday house just as the internet fails and word arrives (via the AirBnB owners) that something more ominous may be occuring in the outside world. A very claustrophobic novel about how our threads of safety and security can snap when we are denied just a few of our modern comforts.