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Friday, September 20, 2019

Weekend Reading

This weekend is shaping up to be an interesting one for our reading selections.  We've got one editor looking at questions of death...asked by children. Their questions are things we may be wondering about ourselves but would never ask, and mortician and author Caitlin Doughty gives us the fascinating scoop.  We're also reading about a complicated love affair and witches who create famous wines. Throw in an entertaining literary reflection on America, and a novel set in Madrid during 1957 under General Francisco Franco, and that's our weekend.  I think we'll have a few things to talk about when we all return to the office on Monday.
The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys
One of my favorite things about Ruta Sepetys's novels is that I always learn something from history that I didn't know and wish I had.  In her latest, The Fountains of Silence, I'm learning about a lesser known of the many injustices perpetrated by Spanish dictator General Fransisco Franco.  I'm already about halfway through the book and I'm totally hooked.  It's 1957 and while tourists are arriving in droves, the Spanish people are still suffering the consequences of war. The two worlds cross paths most glaringly at the Hilton Hotel, where young Daniel Matheson, the son of an oil tycoon, has arrived with his family.  Daniel is an aspiring photojournalist, and with the help of a hotel maid and others Daniel comes to learn much of what Franco is trying to keep silent. Love, family, and, of course, history are all coming together in a gripping read that I can't wait to finish. --Seira Wilson

Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs?: Big Questions from Tiny Mortals About Death by Caitlin Doughty
Anyone who has lived with cats, who truly understands their essential wildness, has asked themselves this question: If I die — and nobody finds me for a while— will my cat eat my eyeballs? It’s true. Caitlin Doughty, a real-live mortician who has written two previous books about death, has considered this, as well. In fact, the title of her new book is Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs?, in which she fields questions about death and dying from children, who have not yet learned that there are questions you can’t ask or things you can’t say. The results are frank, funny, and informative, and you don’t have to be a kid to enjoy them. —Jon Foro

Wild Game: My Mother, Her Lover, and Me by Adrienne Brodeur
Beginning at the tender age of fourteen, Adrienne Brodeur’s mother manipulated her into becoming an accomplice in the cover-up of a long-term extra marital affair. Wild Game is Brodeur’s provocative and surprisingly compassionate account of how this corroded her sense of self and her own intimate relationships, and how she extricated herself from her mother’s toxic grip. So far it’s a really smart page-turner. --Erin Kodicek

The Vine Witch by Luanne G. Smith
In case you didn’t know, 2019 is going to be the year of witches. We’re seeing a slew of books, both fiction and nonfiction, about witchcraft, hexes, and taking back power. (Lindy West’s upcoming The Witches Are Coming warns, “This is a witch hunt. We’re witches, and we’re hunting you.” Hee hee!) Among those witchy books is Luanne G. Smith’s fantasy romance, The Vine Witch. Vine witches have helped create famous wines for centuries, but a curse exiled witch Elena Boureanu to the marshlands. Now free, she returns to Château Renard to discover the lands, too, have been hexed, and it’s up to her to fix it. Prime members can download the Kindle edition for free this month, and I hope to enjoy this novel this weekend accompanied by a lively red. —Adrian Liang

On the recommendation of Seira, I’ve dove head first into Salman Rushdie’s latest fiction quest – Quichotte. Our hero, who takes his name from Don Quixote, is an wildly entertaining aging man who decides he is destined to love and be loved by Salma R., the movie star turned talk show host. Prone to absolutist notions of love and the journey it requires, he bumps into all sorts of things on his drive across the country towards her – including his distant past and estranged sister, his immediate past as a Fentanyl salesman, a new found son, and the fiction of Sam Duchamp that makes him so. So far, it’s a riotous literary reflection of America today. Will Quichotte find his true love?! I’ll find out this weekend. --Al Woodworth

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