The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead is included in the list of 100 titles chosen by American citizens for The Great American Read hosted by PBS. (More info on the books on the list and how you can vote for America's favorite novel can be found here.) In an effort to read more diversely (and to have the ability to recommend books for the adults in my branch) I started with this book as I had never heard of it despite it being listed as a 'classic'. The story follows Lila Mae Watson who is the first female person of color to be an Elevator Inspector. In the world created by Whitehead elevators are the height (ha!) of technology and the majority of the population see them as somewhat mystical and beyond the realm of ordinary comprehension. (There are even guilds which seek to elevate the status of Elevator Inspectors in society to those in political office.) Even more confusing to discern are the two distinct sects of theory as to the maintenance and future of these machines. One school of thought is firmly rooted in the reality of the technology while the other views them as metaphysical creations that can be 'sensed'. Lila Mae belongs to the second school of thought which further compounds the problems that she faces among her coworkers and the public that she encounters on her daily rotations. This sci-fi novel is rooted in the reality of race. What drives the story are the veiled discussions of race but it is told through the lens of technology innovations. It is ultimately a story of hope for a better world where we are 'elevated' from the weaknesses and barbarisms of our current reality. Whitehead challenges our perceptions of our accepted reality as he argues that established views are not solely based on what we see with our eyes. This is a book with a seemingly simple premise about elevator manufacture and maintenance in a world so very similar (and familiar) to our own but instead what we get is a complex discussion of race and how we can (hopefully) rise above. 9/10
What's Up Next: The Read-Aloud Handbook (7th Edition) by Jim Trelease
What I'm Currently Reading: When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
This picks up soon after the first book. Lucien and Stephen are still seeing each other, but both each have their own lives. Each have feelings that have gotten stronger, but do not know how the other feels. (Don't worry- they TALK in this one and are honest with how each feels).
Complicating matters are Lucien's family history and the power there. Because they are sleeping together, Stephen can draw on that power, leading his partner, to suspect he might be turning to the dark side. Stephen's partner, Esther has a decent roll in this one and I'm glad to read about her on the page.
One thing I liked was Stephen's friends, they loved and accepted him just as he was. I am interested in how they continue to progress.
Ripped Bodice Bingo: Queer+Historical square
Series: Finishing School #1
This was a kind of cute young-adult steampunk story about a tomboy in possibly Victorian times (there's talk of a telegraph device and gas lighting) who gets packed off to finishing school to try to polish off her rougher edges. As it turns out, however, the finishing school in question is only teaching the finer aspects of moving about in society in order to create expert intelligence agents, which is much more to Sophronia's liking. She can get behind fashion choices when they're used for camouflage, basically.
So the concept is kind of cute and silly but also somewhat entertaining. Sophronia reminds me a little of Flavia de Luce although she's a bit older. I think I'll see if my library has the next one in the series.
I love anything to do with water, so when I saw the title, The Sea Was A Fair Master, I had to see what these 23 short stories by Calvin Demmer were about. I look forward to some thrills and chills and invite you to join me.
Nowhere is safe in these 23 flash fiction pieces where the sea rules and it won’t let you forget it, but there is so much more – zombies, The Peeper is a fave, love that Krampus made an appearance, proves that clowns are creepy, your not so run of the mill murders – from Heaven to Hell and back again there is something for everyone in these quick yet chilling snippets of life in the world of horror that are written with humor, wit and a bit of the macabre and I found myself smiling at these stories that prove a few well written words can scare your pants off.
I voluntarily reviewed a free copy of The Sea Is A Fair Master by Calvin Demmer.
MY CALVIN DEMMER REVIEWS