So June has come and gone. This means another month of my Spell the Month Reading challenge is over. I’m pleased to report that it seemed easier in June than it did in May. I was finished with the challenge quite early. I guess that’s mostly to do with the order that I was reading in but also because I actually gave more time up to reading. Of course, one of my books was only 32 pages long but that was mostly because I was struggling for a Pride book starting with U. I’m also wary that I have a lot of U’s coming up, so I’ve got to be a bit clever.
Jokes for the Gunmen by Mazen Maarouf
Book 3 of the month.
A brilliant collection of fictions in the vein of Roald Dahl, Etgar Keret and Amy Hempel. These are stories of what the world looks like from a child’s pure but sometimes vengeful or muddled perspective. These are stories of life in a war zone, life peppered by surreal mistakes, tragic accidents and painful encounters. These are stories of fantasist matadors, lost limbs and perplexed voyeurs. This is a collection about sex, death and the all-important skill of making life into a joke. These are unexpected stories by a very fresh voice. These stories are unforgettable.
Uncle Bobby’s Wedding by Sarah S. Brannen
Book 6 of the month.
Bobby and Jamie are getting married, but Bobby’s niece Chloe is worried that she won’t be his favorite person anymore. Will Uncle Bobby still think she is special? Sarah Brannen’s warm story is set in an alternative family as Uncle Bobby marries his boyfriend. Uncle Bobby’s Wedding embraces Bobby’s relationship with Jamie, but keeps its focus where it truly belongs: on an uncle and niece’s love for each other.
Beautifully told and charmingly illustrated, this simple yet moving story begs to be read time and again.
Nemesis by Agatha Christie
Book 1 of the month.
In utter disbelief, Jane Marple read the letter addressed to her from the recently deceased Mr Rafiel – an acquaintance she had met briefly on her vacation in the Caribbean.
Rafiel had left instructions for her to investigate a crime after his death. The only problem was, he had failed to tell her who was involved or where and when the crime had been committed. It was most intriguing. Soon she is faced with a new crime – the ultimate crime – murder. It seems someone is adamant that past evils remain buried.
Read my review.
The Employees by Olga Ravn
Book 2 of the month.
The near-distant future. Millions of kilometres from Earth.
The crew of the Six-Thousand ship consists of those who were born, and those who were created. Those who will die, and those who will not. When the ship takes on a number of strange objects from the planet New Discovery, the crew is perplexed to find itself becoming deeply attached to them, and human and humanoid employees alike find themselves longing for the same things: warmth and intimacy. Loved ones who have passed. Our shared, far-away Earth, which now only persists in memory.
Gradually, the crew members come to see themselves in a new light, and each employee is compelled to ask themselves whether their work can carry on as before – and what it means to be truly alive.
Structured as a series of witness statements compiled by a workplace commission, Ravn’s crackling prose is as chilling as it is moving, as exhilarating as it is foreboding. Wracked by all kinds of longing, The Employees probes into what it means to be human, emotionally and ontologically, while simultaneously delivering an overdue critique of a life governed by work and the logic of productivity.
Read my review.