January Books

January books were a little bleak, to be honest.

Klara and the Sun — This was a book club selection from Kazuo Ishiguro. I found it eminently readable and was so intrigued to understand the nuances of how this imagined future worked. In that, I was disappointed. We learn a lot about Klara, the artificial friend, and the family she lives with. But the broader system they operate in is left as an exercise for the reader. I think this is the same complaint I had about American War back in October, and it says more about my particular interests than the books themselves.

The Unseen — In translation from the original Norwegian, this is the story of a family on a remote island and how they adapt to modernity in the early 20th century. It was not as depressing as the genre can be (looking at you, Michael Cummey’s The Innocents). It’s still not a light read, but something about the current pandemic moment made subsistence living on an island feel almost soothing.

Moon of the Crusted Snow — This novel by Waubgeshig Rice tells the story of a fictional, northern Anishinaabe community and how they adapt when their links with the south are cut as winter closes in. It’s a very taut plot with strong characters, and I raced through it. Also, it might be the book that turns me into a prepper.

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