17 June 2019

Stacked-Up Book Thoughts: 2 Novels for Armchair Travels

2 book reviews from Beth Fish ReadsHello from rainy central Pennsylvania. We've had so much rain, I'm wondering if I'll ever get my gardens in shape for the summer. I mean it's already June 17!! Yikes.

In happier news, I've been kind of absent lately because we were in Colorado last week to attend the wedding of the daughter of our close friends and found family. The weather there was beautiful, the wildflowers were out, and we could see the snowy the Rockies (we were slightly east of them). The wedding itself was perfect and we were so happy and grateful to have been there.

The downside, of course, is coming home and taking care of all.the.things. We had a family issue (all is fine now) and I was not quite where I wanted to be work-wise. By skipping some of my reading and listening time and working through the weekend, I can now (as of Sunday night) say I'm busy but in good shape. Phew!

I never get enough reading time when I'm out of town because I'm more interested in exploring and enjoying the outdoors. I did however finish one print book and one audiobook. Yep. That's about it. Oh well; every week (or two weeks!) can't be a stellar reading week.

review of Pariah by W. Michael GearPariah by W. Michael Gear (DAW, May 14). As you know, I'm a fairly recent convert to science-fiction, and the Donovan trilogy is an example what I'm loving about this genre. Oh, but wait! Did I say trilogy? Ummm, apparently there are going to be more than three books, at least that's my impression after finishing Pariah. Anyway, the short take on the main plot is that there is a small colony of Earthlings trying to colonize a new planet. They been cut off from the rest of the human worlds for a while, so they've had to adapt their cultural norms to new circumstances. But when first one and now two ships suddenly appear, life as we know it on Donovan begins to change. So what we have are culture clashes and differing opinions of how to inhabit or live in a new world. Many of the issues faced by our heroes are those faced by Western colonizers on Earth as they "discovered" the Americas, Australia, and other places. Because, of course, Donovan is not without inhabitants. And how the humans treat the native life--both plants and animals--shows that some of us haven't learned much over the centuries. Anyway, we have bad guys, good guys, people in between; we have native creatures; we have social / cultural questions; and we have lots of action, seeing as Donovan is not a paradise, even if it can support human life. Gear is great at world building, character development, and believable social interactions. Recommended series. (Thanks to the publisher for a finished copy)

review of Disappearing Earth by Julia PhillipsDisappearing Earth by Julia Phillips (Knopf, May 14): I don't think I've ever read a book set on the Kamchatka peninsula before, but I hope this won't be my last virtual visit. This book is a little hard to explain because it's kind of a genre bender. It starts off with the disappearance of two sisters, aged 8 and 11, who do the one thing we're always told not to do: accept a ride from a stranger. From there, the mystery/thriller aspects are always in the background but don't always take center stage. Instead, the chapters that follow read almost like linked stories, each one focusing on different woman or girl whose life is somehow affected by the kidnappings. A teen loses her best friend because of family differences over how to stay safe. A woman is haunted by the fact that she's pretty sure she was a witness but can't remember enough details. A family begins to wonder if the daughter/sister they thought ran away a few years earlier might have actually also been a victim. The mother of the girls can't move forward. And we meet other women suffering from other losses and troubled relationships. Along the way we learn of life on the northern peninsula and the differences between city life, village life, and native (first peoples) life and the gap between the rich and poor and between those who grew up in the USSR and those who remember only modern-day Russia. Phillips doesn't forget about the sisters and doesn't let us forget either, and so the snapshots of life in another place do come around again to remind us that the story is driven by the fate of the girls. A book I'm going to think about for a while. I listened to the unabridged audiobook (Random House Audio; 11 hr, 15 min) wonderful read by Ilyana Kadushin. My audiobook review will be available from AudioFile magazine, but I can tell you that I was totally taken in by Kadushin's portrayals of the various women and girls. The only problem with the audiobook edition is that you won't have a copy of the map or cast of characters. (review copy provided for a freelance assignment)

13 comments:

bermudaonion 6/17/19, 8:06 AM  

I'm glad the family issue is resolved. I'm the say way when I travel - I don't find much time to read because I want to do and see everything. Disappearing Earth sounds good to me.

Laurel-Rain Snow 6/17/19, 8:24 AM  

Travel and family issues can definitely change our reading habits. I hope you have a great week, and thanks for visiting my blog.

Susie | Novel Visits 6/17/19, 8:47 AM  

My brother lives in Colorado and it truly is a gorgeous state. Glad you enjoyed your time there.

I have a copy of Disappearing Earth, but every time I pick it up, I put it right back down again! Maybe audio would work better.

shelleyrae @ book'd out 6/17/19, 9:34 AM  

Disappearing Earth has an intriguing premise, thanks for sharing your thoughts about it.

Have a great reading week

Vicki 6/17/19, 2:06 PM  

One of my friends is in Colorado (last week and this week) visiting family and friends. She's posted photos of the mountains and they are beutiful!

I'm behind on reading :(

Glad the family issue is fine now!

Greg 6/17/19, 3:48 PM  

Same here with the rain! It's been unseasonably cool and rainy- I think we've had rain almost every day in June, seems like.

Glad you had a good trip to Colorado- I haven't been to that state yet but it always looks beautiful.

Disappearing Earth sounds super interesting, and that's kind of a unique way to tell a lot of different stories within the larger story, seems like.

pussreboots 6/17/19, 7:32 PM  

Like you I don't read much when I'm traveling. There are too many other things to do and things to photograph. My weekly updates

Yvonne 6/17/19, 9:11 PM  

I'm glad you had a great trip to Colorado. Hope you have a great week!

Nise' 6/17/19, 9:37 PM  

Sounds like a lovely get away. Glad the family issue was resolved. Disappearing Earth sounds like a good read.

rhapsodyinbooks 6/18/19, 10:43 AM  

Both of these sound like gripping reads. I need to get back to science fiction - I always enjoy that kind of escape.

Tina 6/18/19, 1:57 PM  

I noticed you've been getting some rain, we could use a little bit!
Loved your photos of Colorado and hope all is well at home (family wise)

The virtual traveling is where we are right now and I love to "visit" other parts of the world through books. Disappearing Earth sounds like a good mystery.

JoAnn 6/18/19, 3:53 PM  

Glad you enjoyed your trip, but I'm sorry you came home to problems... glad the family issues are resolved. I still don't have all of my flowers in. The weather here has been pretty depressing, too. So much rain!

Susan @ The Book Bag 6/19/19, 11:32 AM  

I'm visiting CO next week and I always have intentions on getting a lot more read than I ever do. Oh well. Have a great week and happy reading.

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