SarahMichigan (sarahmichigan) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

Books #17-18

Book #17 was "The City of Devi" by Manil Suri. Suri calls this the third in a "trilogy" that have Hindu gods in the title, but each book can be read as a standalone book. In the very near future, India and Pakistan are on the brink of nuclear war, Bombay has been evacuated and is nearly empty, but Sarita hasn't left her apartment because she's been waiting to see if her husband, Karun, will return. Finally, she sets off to try to find him, and is joined by a gay man named Ijaz, and they quest across a surreal post-apocalyptic landscape trying to find Karun. I don't want to give too much of the plot away, but I enjoyed reading a speculative fiction book set in another culture, and learning a little bit about what it might be like to be a gay man in a very conservative culture. The book has some very grim and violent parts, and yet there are also beautiful descriptions and laugh-out-loud funny scenes. I had a few criticisms - it was one of those books with well-drawn characters and an interesting set-up, but it felt like the author was casting about for an ending, a little bit. Overall, though, I liked this so much that I'd like to read more by the author.

Book #18 was "The Lovely Bones" by Alice Sebold, as an audiobook. I'd read "Lucky," the author's memoir about being raped and the aftermath, including navigating the justice system, and really liked it. She brings her life experience to this fiction novel, told from the viewpoint of a 14-year-old Susie Salmon, who is brutally murdered in the early 1970s. Susie narrates the book from her own personal heaven, looking back on her life and watching how her family goes on without her, wondering if her killer will ever be caught. It sounds like a downer, but it's really an inspiring and beautiful book. One of my favorite parts is the way her parents tentatively fall back in love again after their marriage falls apart in the wake of Susie's death. The movie is okay, but the book is wonderful. I had one or two small criticism, but overall, this was a lovely and moving read.

1. The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood [non-fiction]- James Gleick
2. Stones from the River [fiction]- Ursula Hegi
3. The Penelopiad [fiction]- Margaret Atwood
4. Woman Warrior [non-fiction/memoir]- Maxine Hong Kingston
5. The Son of Neptune [ficiton]- Rick Riordan (unabridged audiobook)
6. The Poe Shadow [fiction]- Matthew Pearl
7. Nat Turner [non-fiction graphic "novel"]- Kyle Baker (illustrator)
8. Artemis Fowl: The Opal Deception [fiction]- Eoin Colfer (unabridged audiobook)
9. The Daughter of Time [fiction]- Josephine Tey
10. Vera (Mrs. Vladimir Nabokov) [non-fiction/biography]- Stacy Schiff
11. Gilgamesh: A New English Version [literary criticism/epic poetry]- Stephen Mitchell
12. Back When We Were Grownups [fiction]- Anne Tyler
13. Red Azalea [non-fiction/memoir]- Anchee Min
14. The Mark of Athena (#3 in the "Heroes of Olympus" series) [fiction]- Rick Riordan (unabridged audiobook)
15. The Mosquito Coast [fiction]- Paul Theroux
16. The Fantastic Laboratory of Dr. Weigl: How Two Brave Scientists Battled Typhus and Sabotaged the Nazis [non-fiction]- Arthur Allen

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