Three Books I'm Reading Now, 2/9/21 Edition
01 Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton
Eli Bell is a young man in a tough spot. His father's gone, his mother's in jail, and his best friend and most solid source of advice is a convicted felon and legendary prison escapee, Slim. Eli's older brother August is brilliant, but he never speaks. It's complicated.
Eli lives in a bleak, distant suburb of Brisbane. He wants to grow up and become a journalist. Meanwhile his main goal is trying not to attract too much attention or bring any trouble down on himself or his brother.
Then Tytus Broz, an infamous drug dealer, reemerges in Eli's and August's lives. He had a relationship with their parents, and now their family is in shambles. Eli isn't inclined to listen to any opportunities or ideas from the man. But when Tytus says jump, you jump. And it's not like Eli has many options right now anyway. If he can just manage the situation as carefully and logically as he manages the rest of his problems, things just might turn out all right. He can't face any other possibility.
02 Goodnight Beautiful by Aimee Molloy
Sam and Annie didn't know each other long before becoming engaged and getting married. Now they're newlyweds starting a life together in upstate New York. Sam is starting a private practice in the sleepy town as a therapist, while Annie tries to find her own path and busy herself.
Sam's father left his mother for a younger woman years before, deeply fracturing their father-son relationship. Sam says he abhors the man, but locals are constantly reminding Annie that Sam was a heartbreaker in his younger years and frequently expressing their shock that he's settled down. They intimate that he was expected to follow in his father's footsteps as a lifelong playboy--and that they believe he still may.
Meanwhile, Sam's mother is suffering from dementia. He and Annie alternate visiting days with her. Except...Annie finds out that Sam's been lying. He's said he was with his mother, but he hasn't been showing up. Now he's disappeared altogether. So where has he been, what is he up to, and what other lies have been shaping their lives?
This book has a major twist, made even more interesting by listening to the audio version.
03 Office of Historical Corrections: A Novella and Stories by Danielle Evans
“He kissed her forehead and said, “My little lady of ruthless ambition.” In the months after that, he would sometimes ask her “How’s conquering the world going, my sweet ruthless girl?” in the delighted dumbed-down tone you would use to tell a house pet it was ferocious. She would nuzzle him, beginning to understand that just because he didn’t see something in her didn’t mean it wasn’t there, knowing there was still some freedom in the way he did no fathom yet how real and how necessary her ruthlessness would be.”
Evans, author of Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self, offers short stories centering around themes of race, relationships, grief, and loss. She uses everyday moments to illustrate how the truth of history can be skewed and determined by who has the power to tell stories.
In the attention-grabbing title novella, a black student from Washington, DC, finds herself involved in unraveling a complicated historical mystery that extends over generations and puts her closest friendship, her love life, and her career in jeopardy.
What are you reading these days?
This is a pretty satisfying eclectic mix for me: a potentially heartbreaking and heartwarming book about unlikely friendship and a young man's bravery; a mystery with a twist; and a collection of stories about race, relationships, and the power of history.
Which books are you reading and enjoying these days?