Saturday, October 28, 2017

Jubilee Year: An Erelong Novel by Gerard O'Neill

Jubilee Year (Erelong, #1)Jubilee Year: An Erelong Novel by Gerard O'Neill is the beginning of the end of the world as its inhabitants know it. O'Neill drops the reader into a world where the new normal makes little sense compared to what people remember. As disaster looms, the characters search for a way to survive. People fight for the life they remember even while being told to trust those in power.  Jubilee Year is a stark but entertaining novel that pulls the reader deeply into its characters' lives while also affording the reader enough distance to question the decisions, the motives, and the actions of the characters. O'Neill demonstrates the dangers of allowing too few people to hold the power over people's lives while at the same time leaving the reader to wonder how to best fight tyrannical forces that come from unexpected places by exposing that those in power appear to be someone or something else's puppets. Jubilee Year is a thought provoking, emotion wrenching novel that offers moments of hope in the midst of chaos, destruction, and a world that's lost its way and many of its resources.


Tuesday, October 24, 2017

disinheritance poems by John Sibley Williams

I've heard John Sibley Williams read his poems at poetry reading a few times, and I've read his work before. I've always enjoyed Williams work, but disinheritance surprised me with the depth of emotion woven with intellect in poems that grieved out loud and unapologetically. Williams's grief travels from poem to poem taking the reader into a place both painful and hopeful. Disinheritance feels like the grief we try to disown whenever someone else feels uncomfortable with us feeling it, let alone expressing it. In this book of beautiful, heartfelt, touching poetry, Williams explores grief in a way that never forgets that some losses become a part of who we are as well as who we aren't.
 
  

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Wreck and Order by Hannah Tennant-Moore

Wreck and Order by Hannah Tennant-Moore grabs the reader in an unrelenting grip of the consequences of choices Elsie makes. Self-destructive and searching for herself, Elsie constantly seeks out relationships that take her down dark paths and allow her to fall apart before abandoning a string of people in her life. Tennant-Moore write Elsie's self-destruction with a rawness that left me aching and identifying with the emotions even when I didn't identify with Elsie's actions. At times, I found Wreck and Order difficult to read because of the bluntness surrounding abuse and sexual trauma yet I couldn't stop. Even through my frustration with Elsie I wanted to convince her that eventually things get better. I saw in her a girl with too much and too little at the same time searching for something that would give her life meaning. Wreck and Order explores the addiction to drama that seems prevalent in modern society without apology or excuse.

 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Camanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History by S. C. Gwynne

Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Camanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History by S. C. Gwynne wasn't what I expected when I bought it though I'm not sure what I expected. Gwynne appears to try to tell the history fairly, but how fair can a story be when the documentation of the other side is often biased and the documentation on the other side is scarce? Gwynne certainly pulled me into this well written story with visceral details about the interactions between the Comanches and the settlers as well as the landscape. He has no qualms talking about the settlers taking the land, but like so many books written by oppressors seems to marvel that people will kill to keep the land they've inhabited for generations and will reject invaders telling them how to live their lives. Empire of the Summer Moon paints a picture that feeds into stereotypes about Indigenous Peoples and relies heavily on documentation by the "white man" while excusing this by saying the Comanches didn't keep records. Having read An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States before reading Empire of the Summer Moon, I couldn't help but notice how differently the books presented the histories of the relationship between Indigenous Peoples and the Europeans who "settled" the United States. Still, I found Empire of the Summer Moon engaging, informative, and interesting as well as bold and graphic.