What to Read this Month: August 2018

Welcome back to campus!  If you are looking for something to read, you have several options!  First we have our New and Noteworthy collection at Perkins Library and the Current Literature collection at Lilly Library.  You might also be interested in using Overdrive!  And now check out some of these suggestions on what to read this month!


Ambiguity Machines & Other Stories by Vandana Singh, who Ursula K. Le Guin described as “A most promising and original young writer.”  In her first North American collection, Singh’s deep humanism interplays with her scientific background in stories that explore and celebrate this world and others and characters who are trying to make sense of the people they meet, what they see, and the challenges they face.  An eleventh century poet wakes to find he is as an artificially intelligent companion on a starship.  A woman of no account has the ability to look into the past. In “Requiem,” a major new novella, a woman goes to Alaska to try and make sense of her aunt’s disappearance.


Daphne: A Novel by Will Boast.  Elegantly written and profoundly moving, this spellbinding debut affirms Boast’s reputation as a “new young American voice for the ages” (Tom Franklin).  Born with a rare (and real) condition in which she suffers degrees of paralysis when faced with intense emotion, Daphne has few close friends and even fewer lovers.  Like her mythic namesake, even one touch can freeze her.  But when Daphne meets shy, charming Ollie, her well-honed defenses falter, and she’s faced with an impossible choice: cling to her pristine, manicured isolation or risk the recklessness of real intimacy.  Set against the vivid backdrop of a San Francisco flush with money and pulsing with protest, Daphne is a gripping and tender modern fable that explores both self-determination and the perpetual fight between love and safety.  Read reviews here and here.


The Last Equation of Isaac Severy: A Novel in Clues by Nova Jacobs.  A literary mystery about a struggling bookseller whose recently deceased grandfather, a famed mathematician, left behind a dangerous equation for her to track down–and protect–before others can get their hands on it.  Just days after mathematician and family patriarch Isaac Severy dies of an apparent suicide, his adopted granddaughter Hazel, owner of a struggling Seattle bookstore, receives a letter from him by mail.  In it, Isaac alludes to a secretive organization that is after his final bombshell equation, and he charges Hazel with safely delivering it to a trusted colleague.  But first, she must find where the equation is hidden.  You can read a review here, and an interview here.


Gun Love: A Novel by Jennifer Clement.  Pearl’s mother took her away from her family just weeks after she was born, and drove off to central Florida determined to begin a new life for herself and her daughter–in the parking lot next to a trailer park. Pearl grew up in the front seat of their ’94 Mercury, while her mother lived in the back.  Despite their hardships, mother and daughter both adjusted to life, making friends with the residents of the trailers and creating a deep connection to each other.  All around them, Florida is populated with gun owners–those hunting alligators for sport, those who want to protect their families, and those who create a sense of danger.  Written in a gorgeous lyric all its own, Gun Love is the story of a tough but optimistic young woman growing up in contemporary America, in the midst of its harrowing love affair with firearms.  You can read reviews here and here.


Song of a Captive Bird: A Novel by Jasmin Darznik.  All through her childhood in Tehran, Forugh Farrokhzad is told that Persian daughters should be quiet and modest.  She is taught only to obey, but she always finds ways to rebel–gossiping with her sister among the fragrant roses of her mother’s walled garden, venturing to the forbidden rooftop to roughhouse with her three brothers, writing poems to impress her strict, disapproving father, and sneaking out to flirt with a teenage paramour over café glacé.  During the summer of 1950, Forugh’s passion for poetry takes flight–and tradition seeks to clip her wings.  Inspired by Forugh Farrokhzad’s verse, letters, films, and interviews–and including original translations of her poems–this haunting novel uses the lens of fiction to capture the tenacity, spirit, and conflicting desires of a brave woman who represents the birth of feminism in Iran–and who continues to inspire generations of women around the world.  You can read about the author’s inspiration for this novel here.

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