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Elsa Myer has a lot on her hands. Her father (whom she holds plenty against) is dying of cancer. Her other family relations are strained, between her sister and trying to handle her 16-year-old niece, Mel. She also finds herself constantly struggling with the demons of her childhood, wondering when the nightmares and memories will stop. She's just turned 40, after all, and she still dreams of self-harm due to neglect from her long-dead mother.
"We have a gift, and we have a cake, and today we're going to drive all the way to the big city to see my new baby cousin on his zero-year birthday!"
So begins Margarita Engle's joyful picture book, All the Way to Havana. The narrator, a young boy who lives in Cuba, and his family are preparing to go see his new cousin in Havana. They take "Cara Cara," their 1954 blue Chevy that is supposed to purr like a kitten. But Cara Cara is so tired, she just chatters away like a baby chicken: "Pío, pío, pío, pío, pffft." The narrator's father fixes Cara Cara with each clunk clunk, something he does often to the old vintage vehicle.
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Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned - from the layout of the winding roads to the colors of the houses to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules. Enter Mia—Warren an enigmatic artist and single mother—who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community. When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town—and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia's past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs. (catalog summary)
If you enjoyed Little Fires Everywhere, check out these other domestic fiction title read-a-likes.
Something strange is in the air . . . and it could just be love.
The members of the Fright Club are planning a frightful scare. It will be a good one—like always. But Fran K. Stein has something (or someone) else on his mind. He's busy making something, and of course, the others want to know what it is.
Pink paper . . . scissors . . . glue . . . in the shape of . . . something. "Are you making a mask? With fangs?" Vladimir asks.
In The End of Our Story, by Meg Haston, we meet Wilson and Bridget, a young pair who seem meant to be together.
Bridge and Wil have always been together. First, they grew up together. They became inseparable friends soon after and then, even more so, as a couple. Until Bridge broke Wil’s heart, that is. Then, suddenly, the pair that always was just isn’t anymore.
The beginning of a new year is a great time to work on your productivity. While there are many resources—books, articles, TED talks, etc.—it is often hard to determine which ones are helpful. Will a new morning routine help you do more work? Or, perhaps it’s your Sunday rituals that need to change. Maybe you should lock your cell phone in a drawer for hours a day or purchase an app that blocks the Internet. Are you planning your time well, or should you focus more on your energy?
The promise of being more productive often lures me into reading yet another book or article. Until I read Deep Work, by Cal Newport, however, all of the ideas seemed to be more add-on systems than a way to rework how I think and do things.