That’s a Wrap, Folks

You think I refer to the great master bath remodel? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Though we are down to something resembling a punch list; the end is in sight.

I did finish the flat banana puzzle last night. I will not really take any joy in informing the contractor that I beat him. I should’ve suggested a monetary wager to soothe the pain of winning.

I refer to the Tournament of Books which ended yesterday with The Sellout beating The Turner House to claim the Rooster. It would be an actual Rooster if any author really wanted one, but it has always ended up just being a donation to Heifer International. I reviewed both of the finalists here on Thoughts From the Back. In fact, I read and reviewed eight of the books in the tourney, a new personal record. I would have hit the 50% mark if they didn’t have a play-in round, making the actual number of books in the 16-book tourney 17. The things people learn from college athletics these days.

I actually finished the 8th book yesterday, and it was my favorite.

tsarThe Tsar of Love and Techno by Anthony Marra can be looked at as a book of linked short stories, but it holds together more like a true novel. I wouldn’t want to read one story and quit, I definitely felt invested in the book as a whole. The stories/chapters take place in Russia/Soviet Union/Chechnya from 1937-2013. The first story is about an artist/revisionist/censor in Stalinist Russia. His actions of censorship, of marking out discredited people in pictures, is what creates the ties that link all the characters and stories together. Each story/chapter does stand alone, and they are not presented in exact chronological order. I think you could shuffle the stories and have a different reading experience, but it would still be a great book of short stories that still feels like a novel. The uniqueness of that aspect of the book makes me like it even more.

The ToB stretches my reading brain which is probably the best thing about it. The Tsar of Love and Techno is the book I want to put in everyone’s hands. I recommend the Sellout  if you want to tackle a novel that might stretch your reading brain. If you want the books-for-everyone from the tourney, I recommend Our Souls at Night and Spool of Blue Thread. If you read any one of them, you can always gloat, “I read a book that was up for a major prize.”

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