Saint Odd: An Odd Thomas Novel
I feel like I've been reading the Odd Thomas series for my whole life, but it turns out the first was released in 2008. Still, a long time. Odd Thomas is a man who has many supernatural powers, such as the ability to sense when deaths will take place. He uses his powers to try and interfere, but he is often times too late. Saint Odd was the last book of the series and came from full circle from the beginning. What I enjoy about this series is that although it's a continuation and builds, each novel can kind of stand alone and has enough filler information that I didn't feel like I was totally lost.
A Deadly Wandering: A Tale of Tragedy and Redemption in the Age of Attention
This book was fascinating. It interweaves the story of the first texting and driving manslaughter case alongside scientific studies and personal stories. It makes a case that technology splits our brain so much that we're unable to fully focus. Even if you aren't texting and driving, your brain might be wandering still from sending a text at a stop light. Or maybe you hear your phone and your attention is now split wondering what the text you received was, and it takes a full 10-15 seconds to fully return your attention to the road. It also brings up just how much time kids are spending with technology, an interesting and somewhat frightening number, considering how many kids are now using one-on-one devices in schools. For a non-fiction book, this was anything but dry and I would recommend everyone read it.
See How Small: A Novel
This is a book that people will either love or hate because it's written in a unique prose and that can be dividing. One evening after closing up the ice cream shop at which they work, three girls are attacked by two men and mercilessly abused at gunpoint, after which the shop is lit on fire and the girls die. This story is told from the survivors and from the three girls, often hovering just at the edge of their loved ones' vision. The whole truth behind their murders is left untold, but what is told is haunting.
The Secret Wisdom of the Earth
After the death of his brother, 14 year old Kevin and his mom go to live with his grandpa in coal country. This novel encompasses a lot: coming of age, environmental issues, human rights issues and the complexity of life after tragedy. At times, it seemed a reach in a few areas, but it was overall an absolutely engaging read. I loved most of the characters and I liked that it maintained a realistic tone of life through the end.
Wes returns to Black River with two things: an urn of his wife's ashes and a letter from the parole board, stating that the inmate who trapped and tortured Wes for almost two days is up for parole. He arrives to a town that is both changed and unchanged and to a stepson with whom he still cannot relate. Throughout the pages, he feels out his role in his stepson's life and tries to make amends but can't quite let go of the past. He struggles with the belief that people are born a certain way or made a certain way and cannot change, despite what they say. This is one of those reads that leaves you equally sad and happy all at once. Wes' story is powerful and dark but not without hope.
What are you reading?