The Flight Attendant, by Chris Bohjalian. There’s been a run of mysteries recently published with female protagonists who are “hot messes,” alcohol or drug abusers, running from some problematic past; think, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins or The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn. What makes these mysteries so fun to read is the complexity of the protagonists. Cassie, the flight attendant, drinks as much as she wants and sleeps with whomever she wants (an intriguing lifestyle) but yet she’s centered and lucid enough to not miss that an assassin is out to get her.
Genre: Meditative essay
The Faraway Nearby, by Rebecca Solnit. This book is a devotional book for me. There’s no narrative so I find myself reading it in snatches, early in the morning over coffee when I’m more likely to ponder life. It’s investigative and philosophical like Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. Solnit writes about the hand that creates, all of our creative hands, but you know she’s thinking of her own, how eventually that appendage will die and decay, become “a thousand insects.” Still, she celebrates the creative metamorphosis and what it means in the big picture of life: change, the constant. Selah.
Genre: Sci Fi/Fantasy
Ready Player One, by Ernie Cline. I know there’s now a movie made of this book and why not just watch the Spielberg movie? For the same reason you should read The Martian by Andy Weir even though there’s also a film version of his book. Reading books is such a richer experience because it requires more of you, more mental processing and self-created imagery. You envision Wade Watts living in the stacks playing a dangerous interactive video game instead of simply observing Spielberg’s set designer’s take on this scene. Your investment as a reader is greater, so the emotional pay-off is more as well.