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  • Writer's pictureThe Bossy Bookworm

Three Books I'm Reading Now, 12/21/21 Edition

The Books I'm Reading Now

I'm reading Tiffany McDaniel's Appalachian-set novel Betty with my book club, Xiran Jay Zhao's young adult blend of Chinese history and science fiction in Iron Widow, and Susan Conley's slim, powerful novel Landslide, about a modern Maine family in a remote fishing village coping with challenge after challenge.

What are you reading and enjoying these days, bookworms?


01 Betty by Tiffany McDaniel

In Tiffany McDaniel's novel Betty, set in the foothills of Appalachia, a young woman comes of age surrounded and shaped by poverty and violence. Betsy Carpenter was the sixth child of eight born to a white mother and Cherokee father, and life in rural Breathed, Ohio, is tough for her and her family.

But Betsy is resilient. She revels in the wonders of the natural world, soaks in her father's rich stories, loves her sisters loyally and eternally, and uses her imagination to escape the hardships of her life.

McDaniel was inspired to write Betty by generations of her own family's stories.

This is my book club's first read of 2022.


02 Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao

Xiran Jay Zhao blends Chinese folklore with science fiction robots and aliens in this feminist young adult action story that's fascinating me so far.

In Iron Widow, Chrysalises are giant robots used to battle the aliens beyond the Great Wall, and the girls who pilot them undergo great strain--and can unleash great power.

Zetian shows herself to have incredible--possibly deadly--psychic strength, and she begins to be called the Iron Widow.

Feared and mysterious, Zetian is paired with the most controversial male pilot around, Li Shimin. But Zetian is secretly determined to use her power to elevate the female pilots who have been treated unfairly for so long.

I received a prepublication electronic copy of this book courtesy of Penguin Random House Canada and NetGalley (but I'm just now reading this fall 2021 title).


03 Landslide by Susan Conley

Susan Conley's novel Landslide offers a portrait of a modern family in a remote fishing village in Maine after an accident throws the father out of work.

Jill is left to take care of her teen sons--"the wolves"--on her own, coping with all of the teenaged dramas, important life lessons, dangerous tests of luck and fate, and unforgivingly icy, sometimes dangerous surroundings complicating everything.

While facing what feels like disaster after disaster, Jill struggles to give her boys the support, structure, positivity, reality, guidance, and love they need--while navigating so much herself and as she desperately tries to protect her precious family.


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