The Week in Books #73

12/12 ✅

Boooooooks! New week new stack! So many gooders! I’m so excited! Of the pile I just finished there were lots of good reads. At the top I’d put The Incarnations, The Obelisk Gate, Earthlings, and The Need. My least favourite were Cavedweller and The Woman Warrior.

1. Cavedweller by Dorothy Allison. Ah, Cavedweller. This is a fairly disjointed book from the talented author of Bastard out of Carolina. It starts out with promise as Delia leaves LA with her daughter Cissy to travel back to her hometown in Georgia and reconnect with the two daughters she abandoned there. Then it sort of just chugs along without much really happening. Delia caring for Clint while he dies, Amanda and Dede coming to live with Delia and Cissy, Cissy becoming a caver… all these threads could easily have been fleshed into their own novels rather than roughly connected into one story. By the halfway mark Delia disappears as a character, and only at that point does Cissy discover caving, leaving me wondering for over 200 pages why the title of the novel was Cavedweller. Delia’s relationship with Emmet is seriously underdeveloped. The major incident between Dede, Nolan and Billy (a character that is virtually non-existent before said incident) only occupies a couple pages. New characters are introduced in the final half that only caused confusion. Sigh. The first half was good, then it started to drag, then I -gasp- gave up at page 307. Normally I like to see a book through to the end but I have so many good ones on the horizon that I didn’t want to waste any more time on one I wasn’t into.

When Delia Byrd packs up her old Datsun and her daughter Cissy and gets on the Santa Monica Freeway heading south and east, she is leaving everything she has known for ten years: the tinsel glitter of the rock ‘n’ roll world; her dreams of singing and songwriting; and a life lived on credit cards and whiskey with a man who made promises he couldn’t keep. Delia Byrd is going back to Cayro, Georgia, to reclaim her life–and the two daughters she left behind…Told in the incantatory voice of one of America’s most eloquent storytellers, Cavedweller is a sweeping novel of the human spirit, the lost and hidden recesses of the heart, and the place where violence and redemption intersect.


2. The Obelisk Gate by N. K. Jemisin. I love this series!! It is a historic winner of three consecutive Hugo Awards for Best Novel, the first winning in 2016, the second in 2017, and the third in 2018. This one picks up where the first left off and also includes the perspective of Nassun, Essun’s kidnapped daughter (in the first one Essun set out to find her but we didn’t know what had happened after her father kidnapped her and disappeared). The world building is excellent and I love the magic. I definitely recommend this trilogy if you’re interested in science fiction. Verrry excited to read the final instalment!

This is the way the world ends, for the last time.

The season of endings grows darker, as civilization fades into the long cold night.

Essun — once Damaya, once Syenite, now avenger — has found shelter, but not her daughter. Instead there is Alabaster Tenring, destroyer of the world, with a request. But if Essun does what he asks, it would seal the fate of the Stillness forever.

Far away, her daughter Nassun is growing in power – and her choices will break the world.


This week I got a few new books, not that I needed them, including some I’ve had my eye on for a while. I had lots of points built up in my Indigo account so I got a good deal, and also visited a location in person and found some good books in the bargain section for $8 each. Bargain books: The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen, Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich, In West Mills by De’Shawn Charles Winslow, and Starlight by Richard Wagamese. The rest I snagged: I hope We Choose Love, How to Pronounce Knife, All the Birds in the Sky, The End of Men, We Jane, The Son of the House, 21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act, and The Astonishing Colour of After.

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