Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Surprise Me: Secret Science Fiction

I'm continuing the challenge that I saw on  I Push Book's blog to surprise yourself by randomly selecting a book from your TBR list. I think this used to be an official sign-up type of challenge, but it lapsed. Lucky for me people with expanding TBR lists kept it up long enough for me to notice it. Anyway, I plug in the size of my goodread's TBR list and then read the book that a random number generator spits out.

Spilling ClarenceThe May book is one of Anne Ursu's first books, written for an adult audience, Spilling Clarence. I read Breadcrumbs when it made the Cybils shortlist, and then again with my elementary school's book club. I really liked the mix of emotional realism with layers of fantasy drawn both from emotional symbols and fairy tales. So I put just about everything she wrote on my goodread's TBR list.

Spilling Clarence shows the same command of language that Breadcrumbs displayed, with beautiful writing and lovely ideas about the nature of memory and how joy and grief from the past would affect our response to these memories. The plot isn't really important -- there's a vague factory that manufactures some drug that affects memory in some undefined way, and when the whole town gets a superdose of unfiltered whateverum they react in various ways depending on their relationship to their past and how well they can handle their memories. It was an interesting read, although I can tell that Ursu either got better at plotting before writing her Cybil's finalist or figured it was more important in a kids' book.

Fun fact -- a woman in my book club knew Anne Ursu's younger brother!

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