Short Takes: Dusk Night Dawn

I was a little embarrassed to realize that a new Anne Lamott book, Dusk Night Dawn, was coming out and wasn’t even on my radar. But what a treat to add to my TBR pile for March! And the subtitle, “On Revival and Courage”, felt like just what I needed, coming out of winter into the first tentative days of spring. Even the cover is lovely. Diving into Lamott’s essays one evening, I was immediately reminded of why I am so fond of her. She writes so movingly about the day to day of life, how we are all affected by the events of our country and the world, but keeps bringing her focus back to what is possible to do on the individual level. She acknowledges how helpless we can all feel, yet is able to find the small places where we do have power and agency. And in the midst of all of that, she continually lays bare her own insecurities and the ways in which she is, daily, simply an imperfect human being, trying to do her best, failing sometimes and succeeding at others. She asks for help, sometimes as a last resort. She keeps hoping, even when it seems to be foolish. Experiencing Lamott’s humanity on the page gives me permission to be honest with myself. I laugh with her, and feel like I’m not alone. Each essay is loosely connected to the next, in her trademark style. This is one of those books that would benefit from a slow reading, one section at a time. I couldn’t stop myself the first time through, but I look forward to a second reading, with more time to think over what each essay brings up for me.

We still have signed copies available. Stop by and pick one up!

— Lori

Book Club for Two

A month or so ago two young women came up to the counter, copies of A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas in hand, and I asked, “Oh, are you reading the same book?”

“Yes,” one of them answered. “We heard this is really good. A book club for two!” I smiled (not that you could see it under my mask), agreed that it would be a fun book to read with a friend, and rang them up.

I loved their enthusiasm and how excited they were to read a book together, just the two of them. It’s a different kind of beast, the book club of two, or buddy reading, as I’ve also heard it called. There’s a flexibility inherent in it that traditional book clubs usually can’t accommodate. You only have one other person to consider when you make the rules, so you can say things like, “I didn’t finish, can we push some of it to the next time?” Or, “what the heck is going on here?”

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Short Takes: The Electric Kingdom

For those of you who came into Island Books in January asking for post apocalyptic novels, I’ve likely written this title down on the back of a bookmark, and told you to look for it in early February. The Electric Kingdom came out this Tuesday and I couldn’t be more excited to recommend it! This YA stand alone post apocalyptic story is impeccably crafted to make you immediately start all over again once you’ve reached the mind-blowing finale. The world as we know it has been devastated by a “fly flu” and only remote pockets of human existence survive in tiny found family communities. With one of the main narrators, Nico, we journey through a treacherous landscape of rural New England, on a search for a portal to another time. While the narration is filled with enough action and uncertainly to keep the pages turning quickly, there are also lovely musings on art and story and love that made me pause to read them again. Not to mention a hilarious interchange about Harry Potter amid the shelves of a deserted book store. The Electric Kingdom is deservedly being compared to Emily St John Mandel’s Station Eleven, and anyone who loved that should certainly pick this up. Or get them both for a fantastic book pairing. We currently have signed copies of The Electric Kingdom in the store, and make sure to check out the front of the book for a tantalizing artistic teaser!

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