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  • Writer's pictureThe Bossy Bookworm

Three Books I'm Reading Now, 8/22/22 Edition

The Books I'm Reading Now

I'm listening to The Last Bookshop in London by Madeline Martin, charming historical fiction set during World War II; I'm reading Matt Haig's fascinating, thought-provoking science fiction The Humans; and I'm reading The Quiet Zone, captivating nonfiction by journalist Stephen Kurczy.

What are you reading and enjoying these days, bookworms?


01 The Last Bookshop in London: A Novel of World War II by Madeline Martin

The Last Bookshop in London was inspired by the true story of one of the last bookstores to survive the Blitz.

Grace has been unceremoniously kicked out of her uncle's house without a reference for the years of service she provided in his country store. Along with her best friend Viv, whose parents want her to marry and settle down (something Viv has no interest in), Grace heads to her deceased mother's old friend in London to take refuge as World War II begins to rock Europe.

The young women's wartime experiences take Viv to glamorous Harrod's, settle Grace in a dusty old bookshop, shakes their makeshift household and family, and results in unexpected joys and love among the many tragedies and dark days.

This is not sentimental and is very powerful, and I've already been brought to tears while listening to it. I adore The Last Bookshop in London so far.


02 The Humans by Matt Haig

In Matt Haig's The Humans, an extraterrestrial arrives on earth with a mission: to kill the man who has achieved a mathematical discovery considered beyond what is appropriate for humans and for earth.

Horrified by the appearances of the humans, confused by their obsessions with covering themselves with clothing and drinking disgusting coffee, and pitying of their limited brain capacities and widespread lack of special powers, the visitor nevertheless assumes the appearance of the human Professor Andrew Martin and clumsily takes on the man's life for a time.

At first the visitor is determined to eliminate anyone who had been told about the fateful mathematical advancement. But he soon grows fond of humans' capacity for forgiveness, for caring, and for hope despite their finite life years.

Through his eyes we see the contradictory, beautifully messy, infuriating, wondrous aspects of the human condition. This is funny, strange, and lovely.

Matt Haig is also the author of How to Stop Time, Reasons to Stay Alive, and The Midnight Library.


03 The Quiet Zone: Unraveling the Mystery of a Town Suspended in Silence by Stephen Kurczy

By exploring an area of rural Appalachia where cell phone signals and Wi-Fi are banned, journalist Stephen Kurczy considers one of the few places in the United States where technology doesn't seem to rule society.

In fact, technology in Green Bank, West Virginia, is not allowed--unless you're working in the Green Bank Observatory. Astronomers there use cutting-edge technology to search the stars--while everyone in the area is barred from using devices whose radio frequencies might interfere with scientific study. That means no cell phones, no iPads, and no constant connectivity.

Kurczy's nonfiction explores the treasure of quiet in a world largely filled with noise, stimulation, information, images, and constant input. By introducing unforgettable real-life characters from the Green Bank community, he also illustrates the contradictions and complications of the seemingly idyllic, forced "quiet zone."


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