November 2022–Part Two

Thank you for joining me here!   I hope you enjoy this series and I’d love to hear from you about what you are reading these days.

Book #1:

Curfew by Jayne Cowie (Length: 318 pages)  I first learned about this interesting novel through one of the bookish podcasts I listen to and I checked it out from my library–it was instantly available so I don’t think many know about this one. This is a mystery set in the near-future where all males over the age of 10 are fitted with a tracking device on their ankle by the government, and are not allowed to be outdoors between the hours of 7 pm and 7 am (thus, the title). Cohabitation certificates are also required for all couples who want to live together, necessitating counseling to ensure it’s a healthy relationship. If a partner needs to leave, the government helps with child care, etc. The penalty for breaking curfew is prison so it’s very rare that any males are found outdoors once this policy is instituted and the rates of domestic violence and stranger rape/violence are almost non-existent. Then a woman is found murdered after curfew, which means if the perpetrator is a man, the whole system is flawed. The premise here is very interesting, and the plot propels the reader forward. However, the execution isn’t optimal . . . the writing is a bit amateurish, and the characters aren’t sufficiently fleshed out to where the reader cares about what happens to them. If you lower your expectations about those things, it’s worth it . . . it would be a great pick for a book club discussion for sure.

Book #2:

This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger (Length: 461 pages). I ADORE this book. This is in my top 3 for the year, if not in the top spot (I still have a month of reading left to go). I told a friend that this reminds me of a cross between the novels The Lincoln Highway (by Amor Towles) and Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The set-up here is four orphans escape their tragic circumstances in Minnesota in 1932 by canoeing down to the Mississippi River, and we get to tag along on their various mishaps and adventures. There are some tough subjects broached but many are seen from afar (ie, the author isn’t delving into the details) but the writing is simply gorgeous. The plot absolutely keeps you turning the pages; in fact, this is my favorite type of novel . . . where you think about it when you’re not reading it, and you can’t wait to get back to it. The characters are ones you won’t forget, and I thought the ending was perfect. Please read this one!

Book #3:

Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank B. Gilbreth Jr and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey (Length: 178 pages).  I’ve had this short non-fiction book on my Kindle for years and decided to dip into it when I was in the mood for something lighter. I’ve seen the few movies based on this book (series–this is the first of two) so I was aware of the basic premise . . . it’s the true story of a dozen kids in a family growing up in the early 1900s. The father was an efficiency expert and this career carried over into the kids’ household chores (the father would time the kids and figure out how to make teeth brushing more efficient, for example). The mother was a bit unusual for the time period as she’d assist the father with his career, editing his papers, etc. This is a very fast read, and super interesting. I did chuckle out loud a few times. But keep in mind the time period in which this was written (by 2 of the adult children) as it’s a bit archaic in tone, but ultimately, it’s very kind-hearted and I’m glad I finally got around to reading it. Good for all ages too!

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