A fun and fast-paced abig shipdventure, the book follows a washed-up treasure hunter, a racecar driver framed for murder, and a crew of space smugglers as they search for riches and justice. The world-building in this book was incredible and the author was very clever with how they combined both science fiction and fantastical elements such as the different forms of magic and how it’s used within a sci-fi setting.

Big Ship never takes itself too seriously, with the dialogue between characters constantly being light and funny. I also found myself getting invested in and loving the relationships that were built throughout the narrative. Overall, a very entertaining, wonderfully silly, zippy read.

night watchSet up with the intriguing premise of moving backward in time, four people try to not only survive but also live in WWII-torn London. It’s interesting to discover how all of their lives are interconnected to one another, sometimes by sheer happenstance, but mostly through inexplicably poignant means.

While there’s an attention to detail and pacing one would see in a novel dealing with much quieter subject matter, there’s a tension to all of the narratives that will leave you compelled to hurriedly turn the page.

Written in what feels like effortlessly elegant prose, you begin at the ending and end at the beginning.

Overstory by Richard PowersWinner of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize, The Overstory is a rich and deeply moving epic. The novel follows the lives of nine people whose life experiences with trees bring them together to try and stop the devastation of our forests. The characters are introduced in separate chapters and you begin to wonder how they are connected. But slowly the author unfolds their interconnections into a mesmerizing, beautifully written novel with environmental activism at its heart.

This is not a book to be read quickly but rather to be savored slowly with the beautiful, almost poetic writing of Richard Powers. It is not necessarily an easy read either. I found myself re-reading many passages that were so thought-provoking. This book is great fiction that was so educational and increased my understanding of the science of trees and challenged me to rethink some of my basic beliefs and experiences.

This is one of those books that once you finish it, you want to re-read it for more layers of understanding. I will never look at a tree the same way again.

cellist of saravejoDuring the siege of Sarajevo in the 1990's, a cellist plays in the street at 4:00 pm everyday for 22 days to commemorate the lives of 22 people killed in a mortar shell blast.

The Cellist of Sarajevo uses this true story as a backdrop to tell the story of several people caught up in the Bosnian War, including a baker and a young female sniper who wages her own war with the men occupying the hill above their city.

A beautifully written and haunting novel, it makes you truly feel the fear, suffering and hopelessness of living in a city under siege, where snipers hiding in the hills are killing off civilians one by one.The never ending siege and constant risk of death create a constant tension, making it a page-turner.   Winner of the Globe and Mail Best Book for 2009.

old driftOn one level, this is a saga about three generations of families told largely through the eyes of grandmothers, mothers, and children as they migrate or marry and assimilate into Zambia from 1903 to the near future with each chapter focusing on a single member of the family.

On a second level, The Old Drift is just as much a tale of a changing nation, Zambia, as it undergoes the effects of colonialism and all of the loss that go with it. The Old Drift of the title refers to the name the region near Victoria Falls was given by British colonists in the 1800s, starting with the famous explorer David Livingstone. From the late 19th century, where a white man stakes a claim to land that isn’t his, to several years into the future where technology becomes part of our bodies, The Old Drift lays open the repercussions of colonization.

A combination of historical fiction with a bit of mythical episodes and elements of science. Superb writing, richly imagined with deftly-drawn oddball characters.

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