It’s been 3 days since March began and I’ve only just realised it. Is it just me or are the days getting shorter? Here’s me playing catch-up with the good reads last month.
Himself (Jess Kidd, 2017)
For the dead are always close by in a life like Mahony’s. The dead are drawn to the confused and the unwritten, the damaged and the fractured, to those with big cracks and gaps in their tales, which the dead just yearn to fill. For the dead have secondhand stories to share with you, if you’d only let them get a foot in the door.
A new-to-town stranger, the vanishing of a young woman some decades ago, and a small community weighed down by secrets. Himself has all the makings of a genuinely interesting mystery novel, and then some.
The story begins with a shocking bloody murder. Thereafter, it softens and unfolds as though under a spell. Jess Kidd writes beautifully, binding the reader with intriguing disturbances and charming ghosts of yesteryears.
In her words, the case never feels trite despite bearing familiar elements. Wry humour lifts the gothic atmosphere in perfect moments, lending charisma to its brooding lead Mahony and the good people on his side as he seeks difficult answers to the disappearance of his mother whom he never knew.
Little Brother (Cory Doctorow, 2008)
If you believe that the answer to bad speech is more speech – not censorship – then you have a dog in the fight. If you believe in a society of laws, a land where our rulers have to tell us the rules, and have to follow them too, then you’re part of the same struggle that kids fight when they argue for the right to live under the same Bill of Rights that adults have.
How many of us so willingly give up privacy for the sake of security before considering what the trade-off truly means. It is an easy mistake to make in the information age. Smart technology has the capability to track what we do, where we go, and whom we know, and we allow it.
Little Brother demonstrates the dangers of that apathy. In Cory Doctorow’s imagined near-future, the false sense of security dissipates as the land of the free transforms a police state. It didn’t happen in a split second. The systems were already in place, waiting to be misused.
In the story, the teenage protagonists manage a takedown that ends the semi-dystopia in an all-too-neat resolution. In reality, things are much more complicated and messy. But this book will urge you to contemplate the state of things today and ask the right questions.