I’m a completist! I finished The Echo Wife and The Confessions of Copeland Cain on the same day last week and I’ve been working on this post ever since. I want to update with my thoughts about all that …
but I seem to be out of practice.
Let’s share my thoughts of the TOB books so that I can remember them at Tourney Time. Which is SOON. It starts on March 8. First, let’s present my list of favorites, best to least:
1. The Sentences by Louise Erdrich
2. The Trees by Percival Everett
3. Matrix by Lauren Groff
4. Subdivision by Robt J Lennon
5. All’s Well by Mona Awad
6. The Book of Form & Emptiness by Ruth Ozeki
7. The Confession of Copeland Cane by Keenan Norris
8. Intimacies by Katie Kitamura
9. In Concrete by Anna Garreta
10. Several People Are Typing by Calvin Kasulke
11. No One Is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood
12. Beautiful World Where Are You by Sally Rooney
13. When We Cease to Understand the World by Benjamin Labatut
14. Nervous System by Lina Meruane
15. Our Country Friends by Gary Shteyngart
16. Libertie by Kaitlyn Greenidge
17. The Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey
18. Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro
NOTE: these middle positions shift up and down if I contemplate further. Suffice it to say, I won’t really be upset about any of these winning. For me, the tournament is about how others react (and beautifully explain) these books, the ideas, the craft, the art. THE DISCUSSION. It’s all terribly subjective and I’m here for it.
The following THOUGHTS are most recent to first read.
The Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey, eBook, 253 pages
This book was a failure for me. I didn’t care for it. I finished it, but I thought it uneven and not quite believable. Maybe it was that it diverted far from what I was hoping and expecting. For all the moral quandaries on the ethics of cloning, it really didn’t hit hard on the big questions for me. And it seems heavy-handed for what questions it did explore … which now, a
few many days later, I forget what they are. Identity, I think. But mostly just more on the never-ending story of how men are pigs. I thought many of the main character’s head-thoughts were said over and over and over again. I get it already. You are upset about your marriage. You are unsure about this clone of yourself, yadayadayada blah blah blah. I’m sure that I’ll totally change my mind when the Commentariat has a go at this one!
The Confession of Copeland Cain by Keenan Norris, audiobook 11.2 hrs
Let me share the blurb:
BOOK BLURB: (Cope) is just a regular teenager coming up in a terrifying world. A slightly eccentric, flip-phone loving kid with analog tendencies and a sideline hustling sneakers, the boundaries of Copeland’s life are demarcated from the jump by urban toxicity, an educational apparatus with confounding intentions, and a police state that has merged with media conglomerates – the highly rated Insurgency Alert Desk that surveils and harasses his neighborhood in the name of anti-terrorism.
Recruited by the nearby private school even as he and his folks face eviction, Copeland is doing his damnedest to do right by himself, for himself. And yet the forces at play entrap him in a reality that chews up his past and obscures his future. Copeland’s wry awareness of the absurd keeps life passable, as do his friends and their surprising array of survival skills. And yet in the aftermath of a protest rally against police violence, everything changes, and Copeland finds himself caught in the flood of history.
I really enjoyed this. Cope is very endearing and thoughtful and working on being his best. It has some comic moments, too. It might need to be said that it is brutal and shines the spotlight on harsh reality, too. Recommended. π
I wrote a post on my thoughts of Subdivision. π
I attempted Libertie via eBook from the library. I just could not get into it. I put aside and then came back to it on Audible audio. I got about half way and skipped to the end. Read others’ reviews. Felt I got it. Call it a partial-DNF. I might have missed the middle to last quarter. I was not a fan. To recap what I think it was about: a young girl whose mother was a black female doctor in a free black town in New York who assisted the Underground Railroad. Libertie grew up with expectations of pursuing her own medical degree and assisting mom. She didn’t subscribe to that plan. Between 2 and 3 slices of pie.
Time to chat about ALL’s WELL! I thought this delicious. BUT ONLY!!!! Only after the horrid hard difficult painful PAINFUL first part that discussed the pain of ongoing cumulative on-going ever-present pain. Did I mention it was sickeningly painful? It was. Just painful; all the reviews talk about how visceral it was. I’m not sure if ‘visceral’ is the right word but it was powerful. But then! the cartoon birds of happiness played and the tone shifted and I thought it was WOW. Fantasy elements aside, I thought it brilliantly executed and was on board for the rest of the show and how it played out. This was very much a book that was felt, both bad and good in the body. Well done Author, Author!
Intimacies by Katie Kitamura, Hardcover (Library) 352 pages
Quietly powerful. Our protag moved to The Hague, taking at job interpreting for the international war crimes tribunal. Fascinating! but it was her working through the worlds of being an immigrant, making friends, working at what she was working on, and starting a relationship, etc.; these elements formed the power of the story.
Our Country Friends by Gary Shteyngart, eBook via Libby, 336 pages. It was alright. I skimmed and read the end. (who AM I?!) Three slices of pie.
I wrote a blog review of Lauren Groff’s Matrix. π
I should have liked When We Cease to Understand the World by Benjamin Labatut and translated by Adrian Nathan West, narrated by Adam Barr, 5 hours and 40 minutes. I appreciate all those who loved it but … I don’t know. Maybe I should have read the print and not listened. It is interesting to me that this and Matrix had lots of fact vs fiction disgruntlement and what that MEANS. (I don’t know what it means!) Three slices of pie. (I don’t know if it mentioned pie, either! If anyone has the eBook… go check real quick, wouldya?)
In Concrete / Anne Garreta Tb (2021,185) π3 **** 5
The Sentence / Louise Erdrich eB (2021,416) π2 ***** 4
Beautiful World, Where Are You / Sally Rooney A (2021,356) *** 2
Nervous System / Lina Meruane Tb (2021,228) *** 122
Several People Are Typing / Calvin Kasulke A (2021,3.45) **** 120
The Book of Form and Emptiness / Ruth Ozeki A (2021,18.5) π ***** 118
The Trees / Percival Everett Tb (2021,309) π ***** 117
The Month of Letters ends today! I sent 94 pieces of mail to 25 states plus Canada and Germany. I received 34 pieces of mail. Good times.
March 2nd is Banana Cream Pie Day. And of course, March 14 is PI Day!
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