Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Nevermore: Becoming, Mrs. Lincoln, Dune, Reindeer Moon, IQ84

Reported by Ambrea 

This week, Nevermore checked out Becoming:  A Memoir by former First Lady Michelle Obama.  In her memoir, Obama chronicles her entire life—from her childhood in Chicago to her years as an executive to her life in the White House—with wit, humor, and honesty.  After being on hold for a while, our reader finally had the chance to read Becoming and she had very high praise for Michelle Obama’s memoir.  She said it was an interesting book, noting it was refreshing to read a memoir that didn’t focus on politics but on the experiences of the First Lady.  Intelligent, well written, and revelatory, Becoming received high marks from our reader and she highly recommended it to her fellow Nevermore members.

Next, Nevermore slipped back in time with another First Lady:  Mary Todd Lincoln.  In Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker by Jennifer Chiaverini, Elizabeth Hobs Keckley was born as a slave.  A gifted seamstress, she earned her freedom with the skill of her needle and, eventually, won the friendship of Lincoln herself.  Our reader said Chiaverini’s novel was “such a good [book] to read.”  She found it a fascinating examination of the society of Washington D.C. and the White House, as told through the lens of a former slave.  She highly recommended it to her fellow readers, saying it was a fascinating true-to-life story about the dressmaker who was a witness to history.

Shifting gears, Nevermore ventured further back into time with Reindeer Moon by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas.  Told from the perspective Yanan, a young hunter-gatherer who lived more than twenty thousand years ago, Reindeer Moon is an intriguing exploration of early human history on the Siberian plain.  Our reader enjoyed Thomas’ novel, noting it was “very neat” to read.  It was an insightful, imaginative, and very compelling.  She particularly liked that Yanan narrates her own story, crafting an intimate and memorable story.

Next, Nevermore explored a different planet with Frank Herbert’s classic science fiction novel, Dune.  Born on the desert planet of Arrakis, Paul Atreides is the heir apparent of House Atreides, one of the most powerful noble houses in the galactic empire, and set to become the ruler of the planet.  But beneath the sands of Arrakis, there lurks something sinister beneath the sands and in the House of Atreides.  Our reader considered Dune to be an “okay” book.  It had some interesting parts, but, “[as a sci-fi novel,] it’s what you expect it to be.”  She wasn’t particularly surprised by the plot and she wasn’t thrilled by the action-y bits, but she said it was a decent book with an interesting premise and characters.

Last, Nevermore checked out IQ84 by Haruki Murakami.  Set in Tokyo during the year 1984, this story follows a young woman named Aomame and an inspiring writer called Tengo, whose narratives begin to converge in the most astonishing way.  As the year progresses, their lives become tangled in profound and unexpected ways.  Our reader, who is a huge fan of Haruki Murakami, said IQ84 was the “neverending story.”  Although she enjoyed his novel, she noted it is very surreal and very strange.  She recommended it to fans of Murakami, but, be warned, “it’s very, very long.”

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