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The Future for Curious PeopleIn a little over nine months, I will be graduated from high school. The infinite possibilites of the future pulsate in front of me, each one different from the next. The uncertainty scares me. 

 

In his debut novel, Gregory Sherl captures the awful certainness of this uncertainty: Evelyn Shriner and Godfrey Burkes, both in their own relationships, visit an envisionist for a sneak peek at their future with the loves of their lives.

 

Nobody finds what they wanted, or what they thought they'd find. Hilarity, arguments, therapy, and melancholy ensue as the characters explore what love really means to them, and whether or not they'll ever find what they're looking for. 

 

I've long thought that it wasn't the main characters or their struggles that set a great story apart from the good, but the way that the secondary characters throw their more prominent associates into relief, illuminating the psychology that is hidden to even the most omniscient third-reader. Because of Evelyn's endearingly kleptomanic bestie, Dot, and Godfrey's lifetime friend and wingman, Bart, we gain an artfully crafted glimpse into our character's lives and minds.

 

I cannot recommend this novel enough. In addition to being a fun read, it asks (and suggests answers for) serious questions about love, life, and whether or not the future is better left unknown. Too many times we concern ourselves with the societal impact of glimpsing another time, and too few the impact on the individual person peering at a fragment of possibility. Characters pulled straight from real life and questions from all of our lives makes this a love story for curious people.


The Future for Curious People, by Gregory Sherl, will go on sale on September 2nd, 2014. It can be purchased at Weller Book Works either in store, via email, snail-mail, or over the phone. This book contains language and situations that some may find objectionable, mostly because it is a realistic book about people.

Battleborn


Battleborn coverI'm currently enthralled with an Advance Readers Copy my Penguin Group hardcover sales representative gave me. It took me a while to get to it. To be honest, I just kept skipping it over. Now that I'm in the middle of it, I can't figure out why. It has everything I love: strong sense of place, compelling characters, a slippery sense of time, and beautiful beautiful prose. The book is Battleborn by Claire Vaye Watkins. There are moments when I've held my breath and rushed through a story to see what happens. Then I go back and read it again. These short stories resonate, reverberate even, in my psyche even after I've closed the book and turned out the light. It also begins with a poem I had forgotten about but that I love. I think you will love this book too. I'm sorry that I won't be able to sell it until August because I'm dying to put it in peoples' hands today. Instead, I'll leave you with the poem that sets the tone for the book.

 

In the desert

I saw a creature, naked, bestial,

Who, squatting upon the ground,

Held his heart in his hands,

And ate of it.

I said, "Is it good, friend?"

"It is bitter -- bitter," he answered;

 

"But I like it

Because it is bitter,

And because it is my heart."

--Stephen Crane