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For Readers: Blog

Short reads for long nights

by Book Geniuses on 2021-12-28T14:16:58-06:00 in Fiction, Books & Reading | Comments

The shortest day of the year is just around the corner, which can only mean one thing: more chances for nighttime reading! We’ve picked some swift reads (the longest being 208 pages) so you can squeeze these reads into the fleeting daylight hours or even get through an entire book in one evening. Even this intro is short so you can get straight to the books.

Covers of Flowers forthe Sea by Zin. E Rocklyn; The Cat Who Saved Books by Sosuke Natsukawa; A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers


Flowers for the Sea by Zin E. Rocklyn manages to pack dystopian fiction, horror, and fantasy all into 112 pages. In the aftermath of a devastating flood, Iraxi is amongst the last of humanity who have survived the past 1,743 days on a ship at sea. Pregnant and ostracized by her fellow survivors who still cling to their old society’s social strata, she is put in the impossible position of bringing a child into a world that no longer exists, and even worries that the child is something more than human. Told in lyrical and descriptive language with tantalizing flashbacks to the world they left behind, this is an atmospheric story about the pull of fate and the power we have to outrun monsters both real and metaphorical. [e-book | print | audiobook]

Bibliophiles and animal lovers alike will be charmed by The Cat Who Saved Books by Sōsuke Natsukawa, a translated tale from Japan about a cat who drags a wayward student on a series of magical adventures. Orphaned Rintaro is trying to pack up the bookstore he inherited when an unusually bossy and talkative cat shows up demanding his help saving some books. The duo goes on several literary adventures, often accompanied by Rintaro’s classmate and tentative friend, Sayo. What follows is a whimsical and heartwarming story about the power of books and how simple words on a page can bring us closer together. [e-book | print]

A Psalm for the Wild-Built is the charming opener of the new Monk & Robot series by Becky Chambers. Unexpectedly comforting and hopeful, Chambers has treated readers to a slice of life in a dystopian world where humans have actually adapted to live in harmony with nature. A tea monk travelling through the villages of Panga is looking for a sense of fulfillment and the last thing they expect is the appearance of a long-rumored extinct robot. Between the delightful descriptions of how life has evolved on the somewhat-familiar Panga and the reflective and warm interactions between the unlikely travelling partners, you’ll be eagerly awaiting the next book in the series. [e-book | print]

 

Covers of Swimming in the Dark by Tomasz Jedrowski; Whereabouts by Jhumpa Lahiri; People Like Them by Samira Sedira


Tomasz Jedrowski’s Swimming in the Dark packs a punch in under 200 pages, getting rave 5-star reviews from two Vernon Area librarians. Set in the political pressure-cooker of 1980s Poland, Jedrowski weaves a memorable story of coming-of-age and sexual identity with moving and masterful prose. Ludwik and Janusz meet at a work camp and bond over the impossibility of life as a gay man in their current society, but cracks quickly form in their relationship as they each strive to survive under communist restrictions. Fans of melancholy and complex literary fiction will appreciate the option to squeeze in this brief book between their other tomes. [e-book | print | audiobook]

Always ambitious, Jhumpa Lahiri wrote Whereabouts in Italian, then translated it back into English herself. Somewhere between novella and short story collection, this compilation of introspective vignettes gives readers a glimpse of a life marked by loneliness. As the unnamed narrator goes through the motions of her life as a professor in Italy, she muses on the bustle of life around her in a stream of consciousness, often detached and moody but sometimes finding magic in the mundane. Lahiri’s latest work in a long line of award-winners proves that impressive writing transcends language.  [e-book | print | audiobook | large type]

Ending with another translation, People Like Them by Samira Sedira is the latest in a recent mini-trend of French psychological suspense (think The Perfect Nanny by Leïla Slimani). Inspired by true events, Sedira’s shocking and gripping crime tale opens with a murder trial, trying to unravel the motivation behind the heinous crime in question through flashbacks. Alongside the characters, readers try to understand how a quiet village slowly torn apart by racial discrimination and class divides could bubble up into unspeakable violence. [e-book | print]
 

⏤Laura


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