You have to love summer reading.
All Clear by Connie Willis
I took a long break in the middle of this two-part novel. I liked Blackout pretty well, but I was worried by the fact that the first volume did not provide a strong hook for why I should start the next one. Then as I was starting All Clear, I felt the same minor frustration that I was not getting enough explanation of the why of the plot.
My concerns ended up being groundless because the whole of the story as concluded in All Clear is fantastic. Willis does provide the payoff, and it is excellent. The combination of the great setting with the intriguing plot makes for a great overall read. Therefore it is definitely recommended as an excellent science fiction novel.
This month I enjoyed Tin House #52. Holly Goddard Jones' "The Right Way to End a Story" was truly brilliant, and the overall offerings were excellent as usual.
The Listeners by Leni Zumas
I asked for this book for my birthday solely based on its presence in an advertisement in Tin House. I do not often go with something totally random, but I was not disappointed. I was not sure if I would really like it based on the publisher's blurb:
Hypnotic and profoundly disquieting, The Listeners explores a far-out world where a patchwork of memory, sensation, and imagination maps the flickering presence of ghosts.
Yes, the novel is stylistically unique. Yet what actually makes this a great read are the characters and relationships. I was genuinely touched by the story, so I recommend it.
The Peaceable Kingdom by Stanley Hauerwas
I had read much Hauerwas without reading his seminal work. I was definitely pleased with it. I agree with many of Hauerwas' positions, though I still find the ethical framework and methodology of Richard Hays more compelling. This is an important book in Christian ethics, and so I recommend it to all.