by Ruth Myles
While a young man’s fancy may turn to love in the spring, in the fall, we focus our attention on more cerebral ventures. This week’s change in the weather signals it’s time to cosy up on the couch with a good book while the chill settles in outside.
Over the summer, I only managed to read a title or two, despite packing six books on a week-long family vacation in July. (Running herd on my two kids and five of their cousins depleted my grey matter right quick and I managed to get through one magazine and nary a book in those seven days.) But in the past few weeks, books have made a comeback on my culture consumption list.
One of the standouts so far is The Age of Miracles, the debut novel from Karen Thompson Walker, who is taking part in this year’s WordFest. Walker has crafted a memorable character in Julia, an 11-year-old Southern California girl awakening to the possibilities of the world around her. That world, however, suddenly changes in increasingly unexpected ways with “the slowing.” The Earth has begun to rotate more slowly, creating days that run on for weeks and other challenges to traditional ways of living. But the gradual crumbling of society is merely a backdrop for Julia’s coming of age, as she faces losing her best friend and becoming an outsider.
‘The big guns at this year’s Word Fest, of course, are Martin Amis and Richard Ford, who both have books on the bestseller lists. Add in Anne Perry, Annabel Lyon, John Ralston Saul and Giller-winner David Bergen and there’s a strong slate of books to choose from for this year’s events.
Next up on my reading list is the latest from Rawi Hage. The WF author is getting great notices for Carnival, which tells the story of Fly, “a young, book-obsessed taxi driver deliver both his friends and fares through their strange adventures in the city.” (The city is Rio.) The IMPAC Dublin Award winner is said to have a lighter take this time out.
So how about you? Who are you penciling in on your WordFest to-do/must-read list? Let us know in the comments field below.
Here are some of the other books I’ve read in recent weeks, none of them WF-related, but all worth a read:
The Virgin Cure by Ami McKay, that details the life of Moth, a 12-year-old girl struggling with abject poverty in 1871 New York.
The Twelve by Justin Cronin. (It’s the sequel to his mega-bestseller The Passage and is out Oct. 16. Managed to get my mitts on an advance reading copy. Hint: there’s a cast of characters at the end of the book. Use it.)
12.21, a Mayan end-of-days thriller from Dustin Thomason. It’s a page-turner, but not a book that will stick with readers a year down the road. (Unless, of course, the end-of-times predictions of 2012ers are correct.)
A Wanted Man, the latest Reacher novel from Lee Child. The series is getting a bit formulaic, but I still love the oversized former MP who travels light, but brings down the heavy hand of justice. (And what do you make of Tom Cruise playing Reacher in the upcoming film? Let’s save that discussion for another day!)