Book #25 of the year was This is How it Always Is, by Laurie Frankel. How is it always? Well, parents always try to do the best for their children, even when the situation is completely unforeseen and they have no idea how to proceed. The family in this novel faces a challenge that we've all seen in the news, but how would we deal with it if it happened to us?
Book #26 was Lucky Fish, by Aimee Nezhukumatathil. I reviewed this book here.
Book #27 was How to Stop Time, by Matt Haig. Tom Hazard looks 41, but he has a condition called anageria, in which he doesn't age. He's been alive for more than 400 years. It's possible to live a pretty good life this way, as long as you are willing to keep moving on, and never, ever fall in love. Hazard's situation is an extreme case of what it's like to be human for all of us: loving other people is the best way to get hurt, but also the best way to stop time. I enjoyed this book, and there was the added bonus of Hazard's latest profession being teaching. This gave rise to lines such as: "So, this is the life I have chosen above all others. The life of a man standing in a room of twelve-year-olds ignoring him" and "For decades and decades and decades I have bemoaned people who say they feel old, but I now realize it is perfectly possible for anyone to feel old. All they need to do is become a teacher" and "I have only been alive for four hundred and thirty-nine years, which is of course nowhere near long enough to understand the minimal facial expressions of the average teenage boy."
Book #28 was The Reluctant Fundamentalist, by Mohsin Hamid, a novel which follows the fortunes of a Pakistani Princeton graduate whose pursuit of the American dream is interrupted by September 11th, 2001.
Book #29 was The Abundance: Narrative Essays Old and New, by Annie Dillard, and #31 was another book of Dillard essays, Teaching a Stone to Talk: Expeditions and Encounters. More than a third of the second book was also in the first book, including my favorite essay, "An Expedition to the Pole," which compared churchgoing to polar exploration. I had read some Dillard before, but had never enjoyed her work as much as I did in these two books.
Book #30 was Do Not Become Alarmed, by Maile Meloy. The situation in this book started off bad and just kept on getting worse and worse and worse. A stressful read that I only finished because I just had to know what was going to happen.
Book #32 was This Must Be the Place, by Maggie O'Farrell. This story pulled me in and kept me reading. I will definitely try more of O'Farrell's books.
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