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December tends to be a slower publishing month, so I was a bit worried I’d not have three favorites to share this month. Thanks to a couple books I missed earlier this year, plus an absolutely sensational December book, I’ve got three great book recommendations. In case you missed it, I posted both my Best Books of 2022 and My Favorite Debuts of 2022 last week. They’re both fun lists, but I may be biased.
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My Thoughts: I have a lot to say about 𝗧𝗛𝗘 𝗟𝗜𝗚𝗛𝗧 𝗣𝗜𝗥𝗔𝗧𝗘 by Lily Brooks-Dalton, so let’s just start with what’s most important: I 𝐋𝐎𝐕𝐄𝐃 this book! I first became a fan of the author after reading her debut, 𝘎𝘰𝘰𝘥 𝘔𝘰𝘳𝘯𝘪𝘯𝘨, 𝘔𝘪𝘥𝘯𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵 in 2016. That was a gently dystopian tale of an aging astronomer and a young girl stranded at an Arctic research center. It was thoroughly original and extremely compelling. The same can be said of her sophomore novel, only more so.
𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘓𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵 𝘗𝘪𝘳𝘢𝘵𝘦 falls firmly in the rapidly expanding micro-genre of climate fiction, one of my new favorites. The entire story revolves around Wanda, an unusual child born in the midst of tragedy, on the Florida coast during a hurricane. It’s the not too distant future, hurricane season is longer and longer, temperatures soar, sea levels are rising, and infrastructure is slowly becoming inoperable. Despite all that, Wanda’s family is deeply committed to the place they live and love. As Wanda grows, her heart feels the same, her bond even stronger.
That’s all you get! Don’t read the publisher’s blurb. It tells you too much. I went into this book nearly blind and am so thankful for that. It made every section special, and many surprising. If you were a fan of 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘋𝘪𝘴𝘱𝘭𝘢𝘤𝘦𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘴 by Bruce Holsinger or 𝘈𝘮𝘦𝘳𝘪𝘤𝘢𝘯 𝘞𝘢𝘳 by Omar El Akkad, you’re going to be knocked out by this one! Grade: A (and one of my Best Books of 2022)
“𝘛𝘩𝘦𝘺 𝘩𝘢𝘥 𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘩𝘶𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘪𝘳 𝘩𝘢𝘵𝘴 𝘰𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘲𝘶𝘦𝘴𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘰𝘧 𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘹𝘪𝘮𝘪𝘵𝘺. 𝘠𝘦𝘴, 𝘪𝘵 𝘸𝘪𝘭𝘭 𝘣𝘦 𝘣𝘢𝘥, 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘺’𝘥 𝘴𝘢𝘪𝘥 𝘵𝘰 𝘰𝘯𝘦 𝘢𝘯𝘰𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳, 𝘣𝘶𝘵 𝘸𝘦 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘺𝘦𝘢𝘳𝘴. 𝘞𝘦 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘵𝘪𝘮𝘦. 𝘚𝘰𝘮𝘦𝘩𝘰𝘸 𝘸𝘦’𝘭𝘭 𝘴𝘰𝘭𝘷𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘢𝘭𝘰𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘸𝘢𝘺. 𝘏𝘦 𝘥𝘰𝘦𝘴𝘯’𝘵 𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘯 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘦𝘯𝘦𝘳𝘨𝘺 𝘵𝘰 𝘣𝘦 𝘢𝘯𝘨𝘳𝘺.”
My Thoughts: I’m going to start my thoughts on 🔪𝗞𝗜𝗟𝗟𝗘𝗥𝗦 𝗢𝗙 𝗔 𝗖𝗘𝗥𝗧𝗔𝗜𝗡 𝗔𝗚𝗘🔪 by Deanna Raybourn in an unusual place – the very last sentence of the acknowledgements.
“𝘌𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘺 𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘴𝘰𝘯 𝘸𝘩𝘰 𝘪𝘥𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘪𝘧𝘪𝘦𝘴 𝘧𝘦𝘮𝘢𝘭𝘦 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘩𝘢𝘴 𝘳𝘢𝘨𝘦. 𝘐 𝘧𝘦𝘦𝘭 𝘺𝘰𝘶, 𝘴𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘦𝘳. 𝘛𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘰𝘯𝘦’𝘴 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘺𝘰𝘶.”
I love that so much because surely all women know what female rage feels like and all have felt it to different degrees at different times in our lives. How great that Raybourn acknowledged that AND wrote a super fun book for women in which women held all the power.
You all know what this one’s about, four 60ish women assassins who have spent their lives working for an agency whose goal is eliminating evil from the world. They’re being reluctantly ushered into retirement when things get even worse as they realize they’re now being targeted. It was a wild adventure as they took control to save their own lives. Was it realistic? Absolutely not. Did I care? Not even a tiny bit. I was there for the fun and that’s exactly what I got. If you’ve passed on this one (as I initially did), you might reconsider. This book about killers is a feel good romp no matter your age. Grade: B+
My Thoughts: 𝗔 𝗪𝗔𝗜𝗧𝗘𝗥 𝗜𝗡 𝗣𝗔𝗥𝗜𝗦 by Edward Chisholm may be the very best memoir I’ve read this year. In it, Chisholm recounts his first year of working his way into the elite, yet lowly world of Paris waiters. This was made even more difficult by the fact that he’s English and spoke almost no French.
I loved this book for many reasons. Paris is my absolute favorite city in the world and I always enjoy books that take me there. I worked as a waiter in college, though under much different conditions, so I could relate just a little. This memoir was so riveting it read like fiction. The “cast of characters” was varied, fully fleshed out, and hugely interesting. There were comrades, criminals, friends, villains, and more. All that made for a great reading experience.
“𝘐𝘵’𝘴 𝘱𝘩𝘺𝘴𝘪𝘤𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘺 𝘥𝘦𝘮𝘢𝘯𝘥𝘪𝘯𝘨, 𝘧𝘳𝘦𝘲𝘶𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘭𝘺 𝘩𝘶𝘮𝘪𝘭𝘪𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘪𝘯𝘤𝘳𝘦𝘥𝘪𝘣𝘭𝘺 𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘱𝘦𝘵𝘪𝘵𝘪𝘷𝘦. 𝘉𝘶𝘵 𝘪𝘵 𝘥𝘰𝘦𝘴𝘯’𝘵 𝘮𝘢𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘳 𝘣𝘦𝘤𝘢𝘶𝘴𝘦 𝘺𝘰𝘶’𝘳𝘦 𝘪𝘯 𝘗𝘢𝘳𝘪𝘴, 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘤𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘳 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘶𝘯𝘪𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘴𝘦, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦’𝘴 𝘯𝘰𝘸𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘦𝘭𝘴𝘦 𝘺𝘰𝘶’𝘥 𝘳𝘢𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳 𝘣𝘦 𝘪𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘸𝘰𝘳𝘭𝘥.”
Be warned, you may think twice the next time you’re dining out. All is not as we might hope behind the scenes and the author made clear this is true in any large city with a competitive restaurant scene. His experience was nearly ten years ago, so maybe things have improved? In any case, reading of his journey through the darker sides of Paris was a pleasure, one I’m sure anyone who loves 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘊𝘪𝘵𝘺 𝘰𝘧 𝘓𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵 will also enjoy. Grade: A-