Welcome to this week’s Three to Read! Since the pandemic began, all of us have been a little lost and confused regarding our relationships and how we fit in the world. Who are we, once stripped of our daily to-do lists of chores and jobs and lunch plans with friends?
This week’s three to read is about finding things, whether it’s secrets, security, peace, or magical swords. I hope they bring you some joy and the motivation to do your own searching. Happy reading!
Hot Pick: “The Night of Many Endings” by Melissa Payne
Don’t we all love a good-found family? The Night of Many Endings explores the fun of learning new things about old acquaintances; and the bittersweetness of learning new things about even older events.
As a kid, I’d always thought that if I was ever stuck inside a store, I’d want it to be a library(or an Ikea!). I’d have all night to hunt through the books, go back to reread old favourites for the millionth time, or find new authors or genres that I hadn’t expected to like. That’s exactly what happens in this novel. Even better, the protagonist isn’t alone.
For Melissa Payne, the spark for this book came from a variety of different articles and documentaries that shed light on the relational role of libraries as inclusive, modern-day sanctuaries–and of more than just books. She learned of a library that accepted all manuscripts submitted to it. She watched a documentary on the opioid epidemic highlighting a librarian who was trained to use naloxone to save people overdosing.
“I heard a powerful quote from a librarian that libraries are perhaps the last place in society where they welcome you, where you don’t have to buy or believe anything. So, I wanted to write about a library that faces very real challenges every day, and that brings strangers together. I also wanted to explore how it’s easy to make assumptions about people rather than wait and get to know someone.”
Dark Horse: “The Sword Of David” by Charles Litchman
At one point or another, we’ve all played at being James Bond in our heads. Doing impossible stunts, exchanging banter with the bad guys, and saving the life of a love interest with nerf guns in hand, out to save the day! This novel is inspired by Ian Fleming’s world-famous series with a hint of magic, and it doesn’t disappoint.
Our protagonist races around the globe in search of magical objects, and meets well-written and well-researched side characters who help him with clue solving. The author is very firmly anti-war, and the care he has put into his book shows with each scene. The various locations and cultures are really well represented, and allow the reader to relate to characters we never would have imagined sharing similarities with.
In a time where the world seems large and unfriendly, The Sword of David provides a heartwarming what-if. What if we all got along? What if we managed to bridge the large divides between us? Lichtman puts an optimistic spin on a genre that is usually chock-full of guns, guts, and glory. Focusing on cooperation and understanding rather than the use of force, this thriller takes you on a Da Vinci Code-like journey, and I personally enjoyed every minute of it.
This book was heavily influenced by incidents that took place in the author’s own life, and if you’re interested he gives a compelling interview on the how’s and why’s of writing it here.
Coffee shop read: “Everyone You Hate is Going To Die” by Daniel Sloss
Everyone has that one ex whose name brings a bubbling rage into your heart, and the heart of your best friends. You hear that name and suddenly all your zen vibes are gone. Violence is your new middle name, and that 14-year-old playing Call of Duty has nothing on your desire for destruction. Well, Dan Sloss’s book is definitely for you!
Filled with curses and explicit references that definitely made Sloss’s editor weep, Everyone You Hate is Going to Die travels through the current troubles in his life in a way that hopefully teaches you something. For someone who has definitely broken a law or two, Sloss gives surprisingly good advice. In a ‘do as I say not as I do’ sort of way. And hey, even if you don’t get anything from the book, you’ll at least have a couple of hours of laughter and an escape from that unfolded laundry and sink full of dishes.