Quick Lit August 2018

I've been meaning to read this 2006 novel for ages: it's been highly recommended by my local booksellers and a few friends with good taste. But whoa, it was NOT what I was expecting! I was expecting a Very Serious Literary Book, and instead it *almost* read like YA. The narrator is Blue van Meer, a teenager who has been moving from town to town with her father ever since her mother died, accompanying him to each of his short-term professorial stints at tiny liberal arts colleges across the country. Her senior year of high school, her father declares they will spend the whole year in one place, and Blue falls in with an enigmatic teacher and a hand-picked group of students she's gathered around her. The whole book is strongly reminiscent of The Secret History, yet despite this I still didn't see that big left turn coming. Smart, snappy, and interesting.
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From the publisher: "Ijeoma Oluo explores the complex reality of today's racial landscape—from white privilege and police brutality to systemic discrimination and the Black Lives Matter movement—offering straightforward clarity that readers need to contribute to the dismantling of the racial divide. She's is the Editor-At-Large at the Establishment, a media platform run and funded by women. Perfectly positioned to bridge the gap between people of color and white Americans struggling with race complexities, Oluo answers the questions readers don't dare ask, and explains the concepts that continue to elude everyday Americans. Her writing brings to mind voices like Ta-Nehisi Coates, Roxane Gay, Jessica Valenti in Full Frontal Feminism, and a young Gloria Naylor."
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Barbara Kingsolver, in The New York Times Book Review (cover review) calls this, “Monumental…The Overstory accomplishes what few living writers from either camp, art or science, could attempt. More subtly developed than the human purview that we gain glimpses of a vast, primordial sensibility, while watching our own kind get whittled down to size." From the publisher: "The Overstory unfolds in concentric rings of interlocking fables that range from antebellum New York to the late twentieth-century Timber Wars of the Pacific Northwest and beyond, exploring the essential conflict on this planet: the one taking place between humans and nonhumans. There is a world alongside ours—vast, slow, interconnected, resourceful, magnificently inventive, and almost invisible to us."
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From the publisher: "The book 'Urban Jungle' is a source of green inspiration and a collection of creative plant ideas for everyone who wants to bring more green into their homes and daily lives. The book takes us on an inspiring voyage through five green homes across Europe which prove that living with plants is beautiful, creative, individual and sometimes even arty. Additionally the book features numerous plant styling ideas from successful international bloggers of the Urban Jungle Bloggers community, simple plant care tips and DIY ideas. The book is for everyone and aims to allay any fears about living with plants. You don't need a green thumb - all you need is the book 'Urban Jungle'!"
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From the publisher: "At one point or another, we’ve all been asked to name five people, living or dead, with whom we’d like to have dinner. Why do we choose the people we do? And what if that dinner was to actually happen? When Sabrina arrives at her thirtieth birthday dinner she finds at the table not just her best friend, but also three significant people from her past, and well, Audrey Hepburn. As the appetizers are served, wine poured, and dinner table conversation begins, it becomes clear that there's a reason these six people have been gathered together. Delicious but never indulgent, sweet with just the right amount of bitter, THE DINNER LIST is a romance for our times. Bon appetit."
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