Top 3 Summer Reads 2019

Someone told me yesterday that school has started back up, so in my mind that means summer is over. Sure, technically it’s still summer, but I’m ready to share three great books with y’all, so lets’ go with it.

Killers of the Flower Moon : The Osage Murder and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann

This is a non-fiction book about a piece of American history that Americans are rarely taught. Or never taught. I grew up in Texas and part of our Texas History class (of which we had two years that I can recall) was learning about the way white settlers ran Native Americans out of Texas. Same story with the Mexican population. And then…yeah, anyway, the State of Texas touched on a very narrow part of the atrocities Native Americans suffered at the hands of white settlers.

But this book! This book takes place after ‘everything was fine’ according to the way American history was taught to me in grade school. This book is about the Osage Nation in Oklahoma in the 1920s at a time when they were some of the wealthiest people in the world thanks to having property with oil. And this book is about the suspicious deaths of many of the Osage and the rise of the FBI because there was really no one else to investigate what was happening.

Killers of the Flower Moon was a page-turner for me. Not only is this often neglected part of American history eye-opening, but I love mysteries, and this read like mystery novel. I mean, sure, you figure out whodunit pretty quickly, but just how deep the corruption goes and wondering who else is going to wind up dead before law enforcement could figure it out kept me reading.

Also, if this means anything to you, Killers of the Flower Moon was named best book of 2018 by a whole bunch of publications and online media, and was a New York Times Best-Seller.

How Long ’til Black Future Month? by N. K. Jemisin

This is a collection of short stories that took me to bizarre alien planets, back into alternative pasts of our own, and made me think and dream and question. I highly recommend this book, especially if you’re already a fan of N. K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth trilogy, because one of the stories is set in that world. But if you’re new to Jemisin’s writing, pick this up! It’s exquisitely written.

I enjoyed every story in this collection, even one that I initially thought was a bit too much for me in terms of how it pushed formatting and played with time. By the end of that story, however, I’d come around. There are a few that I still am thinking about, and in truth, I’ll probably buy this book so I can go back and re-read them. One left me feeling profound hope, and the other made me question the way I see the world.

The Murders of Molly Southbourne – Tade Thompson

If you haven’t signed up for Tor.com’s e-Book of the Month Club, you should. It’s free. I don’t always download the book of the month, but sometimes I do. Like this summer when I was looking for something to put on my e-reader to make packing for a couple of trips easier. I’d just received an email with this novella as the ebook of the month and I thought “sure, why not?”

The description from Tor.com that caught my attention was this: Every time she bleeds, a murderer is born.

As a woman, I was intrigued by the premise. How exactly is she going to manage that life? And what does that mean, a murderer is born? Fully-developed psycho-killing human? Or babies that are going to develop into murders some-day? What kind of time-frame are we working with for catching these murders? (you can see how quickly I spiraled)

Some of those questions were answered by reading the back copy of the book. Turns out, every time Molly bleeds, an identical copy of her grows from the blood with the mission to murder her.

Are you interested yet?

I’ll admit I was a little suspicious and concerned about how a male author would handle the obviously most challenging part of the premise: a woman who will inevitably bleed monthly, and that blood creating murderers.

I took this novella down in my very short plane ride from Malmo to Split, and nearly two months later I’m left with a sense of “wow” and “I wonder what’s next” (turns out there’s another novella that came out in July of this year called The Survival of Molly Southbourne. I haven’t read it yet, so I’ve got nothing for you on if it’s a satisfying continuation or not).

Personally, I found the author’s exploration and fleshing out of the novella’s premise to be thought-provoking and entertaining. Plus the writing was fantastic.

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