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  • Writer's pictureThe Bossy Bookworm

Three Books I'm Reading Now, 3/20/23 Edition

The Books I'm Reading Now

I'm reading Jane Harper's newest Australian-set Aaron Falk mystery, Exiles; I'm listening to a audiobook of The Dream Builders, Oindrila Mukherjee's story of the intersection of old and new India; and I'm reading a prepublication edition of American Mermaid, Julia Langbein's story of an English teacher who moves to Los Angeles to adapt her surprise feminist bestseller into a movie--without losing her integrity or being derailed by mysterious occurrences surrounding the whole situation.

What are you reading these days, bookworms?


01 Exiles by Jane Harper

Jane Harper's The Dry (Aaron Falk #1) is set in small-town Australia with dark secrets and twists and turns, and she offers more of her excellent pacing in Force of Nature (Aaron Falk #2).

In Exiles, Jane Harper tells another Aaron Falk story, as Federal Investigator Falk ventures into Australian wine country for the christening of a friend's baby.

But the year-old mysterious disappearance of Kim Gillespie, a young woman from the area, hooks Falk and his old friend Raco, and they can't stop asking questions of the fractured group of Kim's friends and family to try to understand potential motives, details, and dark secrets.

Harper often sets her stories in an Australian bush setting, and her somewhat spare writing style complements the stark, often brutal backdrop. This often makes her books feel like Westerns to me, as with her book The Lost Man.

But The Survivors, which is set on the Tasmanian coast, is my favorite Harper novel so far.


02 The Dream Builders by Oindrila Mukherjee

Maneka Roy has temporarily returned to India after six years teaching creative writing in the American Midwest. Her mother has died, and her father and friends have moved from Calcutta to Hrishipur, a booming city full of malls and the promise that all will be newer, bigger, shinier, and better than India has ever known it.

Maneka struggles to reconcile her past and her memories with the present and the glittery facades with their gritty underpinnings.

Mukherjee shapes The Dream Builders by telling the stories from ten different characters, interconnected but varied in class, power, wealth, experience, and hope for the future.

I received an audiobook edition of this title courtesy of and Blackstone Publishing as part of the ALC program. The story is narrated by Soneela Nankani.


03 American Mermaid by Julia Langbein

I've been so very excited for this book for ages, and I'm glad to finally be diving in! (See what I did there?)

Penelope Schleeman is an English teacher struggling to make ends meet when her feminist novel American Mermaid becomes a bestseller. She's hooked on the promise of a big payday and leaves her teaching position to move to Los Angeles and turn her novel into a script.

But others' visions for the story involve her eco-warrior main character morphing into a teen beauty wearing a clamshell bra.

Then mysterious threats begin appearing within the script, aimed at the writers who are picking apart what made her story sing in the first place.

I received an electronic version of this title, scheduled for publication March 21, courtesy of NetGalley and Doubleday.


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