It’s always good to get reading recommendations, and who better to get them from than the intelligent and attractive Bookstr staff with their notoriously good taste?
Chris Eder – Editor
I just started this book of short stories called The Dream Life of Astronauts by Patrick Ryan. So far, so good. He’s a big fan of precocious little kids dealing with adult situations. The first story, ‘The Way She Handles’, is about a nine-year-old boy putting his Hardy Boys knowledge to use when he suspects something’s up between his parents. It’s kind of like a hard-boiled crime noir (like The Maltese Falcon or something), but with a little kid figuring out his parents’ marriage is messy. I heard about this book because Patrick Ryan is the editor-in-chief of the AMAZING lit mag One Story, which you should all subscribe to. It’s one short story a month published in a little chapbook. Tom Hanks (yes, that Tom Hanks) just published a short story in it. I have not read it yet, but I will read it. Tonight.
Hilary Schuhmacher– Editorial Staff
Right now, I can’t get enough of How to Ruin Everything by George Watsky, a collection of thirteen vignettes from the author’s life. In the first, ‘Tusk,’ the author and his “obliviously handsome aspiring-filmmaker roommate Jackson” plan a road trip from Los Angeles to Vancouver to Denver, where they would eventually attend Jackson’s great-aunt June’s one hundredth birthday party:
After a person turns twenty-one, most milestone birthdays are ominous reminders of our mortality: thirty, forty, fifty, sixty – potentially depressing moments in a person’s life. But One Hundred is a double middle-finger salute to the reaper.
Along the way, they hit up San Francisco for Watsky’s father’s birthday, where “all I brought [him] for his birthday were more reasons to worry about me,” before heading across the Canadian border to pick up the four-foot narwhal tusk they would then smuggle across the border as a gift for sweet old June. She’s obsessed with narwhals.
In the process of giving an old woman a very thoughtful gift, the pair get into a variety of shenanigans, which can be summed up from the following excerpt:
“He was selling weed in Mexico and they pinned two murders on him,” Jackson recalled from Locked Up Abroad, his favorite reality show about law-breaking travelers who find themselves … locked up abroad.’
10/10. Fully recommend.
Samantha Naranjo – Editorial Staff
I’m reading Liane Moriarty’s The Hypnotist’s Love Story. Like many others, I was first turned on to Liane Moriarty after seeing billboard after billboard for HBO’s adaptation of Big Little Lies. I quickly made a pact with myself that the book would be finished before the series’ premiere, which was an easy task considering how awesome her writing is. The Hypnotist’s Love Story is now the third book of Moriarty’s that I have read whilst trying to complete her entire collection. As you would expect, the book is intelligent, humorous, witty, and full of Moriarty charm, but this is definitely not the number one book in her body of work. The narrative switches between Ellen (the hypnotist) and her current boyfriend’s stalker, Saskia. The character development is beautiful, but a bit slower than her other work. Would I recommend it to a friend? Yes, but her body of work features much better books that I would recommend first!
Laura-Blaise McDowell– Editor
Image Via Amazon
I just finished Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being, which is a particularly strange and unusual book, following two very different lives. Ruth, a fictionalized version of the author herself, finds a Hello Kitty lunchbox containing the diary of a Naoko Yasutani, a Japanese school girl, washed up on the remote Canadian island on which she lives. Ruth suspects the box may be debris from the Japanese tsunami of 2011.
The lines between fact and fiction are blurred both in the narrative, with Ruth’s desperately attempting to fact check Nao’s story, and for the readers, who find themselves questing how much of what they’re reading is fiction at all. Ruth’s solitary life on the island provides interesting, although occasionally jarring, contrast to Nao’s difficult life in Tokyo. Nao and her parents moved back to Tokyo from California after the crash, and Nao struggles to fit in in school, while her father becomes increasingly depressed. However, the character of Nao is one of the most convincing, likeable and humorous I’ve ever read.
The book also manages to include fascinating detail regarding a host of topics including World War II, Buddhism, and environmental issues. While occasionally I became a little frustrated with the pacing of the book, (there are somewhat tedious descriptions of Ruth Googling things), now that it’s over, I find myself missing the characters and wondering what they’re up to, which is a sign of a pretty good read. (Also, I read it mainly on the train to and from work, which meant that it took me about nine years to complete so I got pretty attached.)
Keep tuning in to find out what new and interesting reads the hip, cool Bookstr staff are into!