187 A Wind in the Door

awindinthedoorby Madeleine L’Engle, 1973
narrated by Jennifer Ehle

This is the book that taught me the word “mitochondria”!

In this second installment of the Time Quintet, we find Meg Murry worried about her younger brother Charles Wallace. He’s being bullied at school over his intelligence and his penchant for speaking about complex subjects like an adult. At home, Charles Wallace is seeing dragons in their back yard, and he and Meg discover some unusual feathers. Meanwhile, Charles Wallace appears to be getting sicker and sicker, suffering from some sort of malady that affects his breathing. Their microbiologist mother believes it may be a disorder of his mitochondria and their farandolae. Later, Meg teams up with Calvin O’Keefe, and the two engage in a cosmic battle involving good and evil and a Fantastic Voyage-like journey inside Charles Wallace to save his life.

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183 Patternmaster

patternmasterby Octavia E. Butler, 1976

Patternmaster is first on my Year of Octavia challenge! It is important to note that while these books are now published in chronological order according to the story’s timeline, I will be reading them according to publication date, which I believe is the way a series should always be read. It is also worth noting that there were originally five books in this series, but one – Survivor – appears to be indefinitely out of print. So, I will forge ahead with what I have available to me, and this brings me to start with the concluding book in this series’ chronology.

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176 A Wrinkle in Time

wrinkleintimeby Madeleine L’Engle, 1962
narrated by Hope Davis

It’s been quite some years since I read A Wrinkle in Time. I read the entire Time Quartet when I was young and I remember loving it. With the movie version of the first installment fast approaching, it seems a good time to back and see if the book was every bit as good as I originally thought it to be. The verdict? Different from what I remember, but still a wonderful read.

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119 Dark Matter

darkmatterby Blake Crouch, 2016

Sliding Doors, meet quantum mechanics! 

If there’s one trope I find tiresome, it’s science-fiction that serves as a masquerade for the heteronormative love story. I’m looking at you Interstellar and Arrival and, now, Dark Matter. Now, I’m not entirely dead inside. I like a good love story on occasion – Jane Eyre is one of my most favorite books – but when I come to sci-fi, I expect it to be more than just a ruse for a man and a woman to find their happily ever after. Which isn’t to say that I didn’t like reading this book or that I didn’t find the story creative or engrossing, because I did, but if I had wanted to watch Sliding Doors, I would have watched Sliding Doors. I don’t drink my whiskey with water and I don’t need my sci-fi made palatable with romance, thank you very much.

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80 Ready Player One

readyplayeroneby Ernest Cline, 2011

It’s 2044 and the only respite from the bleakness of daily life is logging into the virtual utopia that is the OASIS. When the OASIS’s creator James Halliday dies, a video is released offering riches and wealth to the player who finds the Easter egg Halliday has hidden inside his game. Wade Watts – your everyday geeky, gamer teenager – takes up the quest to be the first to find the egg. This is his story. (Minor spoilers below.)

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78 Station Eleven

stationelevenby Emily St. John Mandel, 2014

I have to admit it – I’m a sucker for a good post-apocalyptic/dystopian story. It’s unfortunate that those have become buzzwords for young adult literature. Don’t get me wrong, I love YA, but the popularity of this theme seems to have opened up a platform for mediocre writers to have their stories pushed on us simply because publishers have decided that apocalypses and dystopias sell. It’s also somewhat disheartening to see some readers refer to this as a “trend.” Writers have been imagining bleak futures for ages – crack open Brave New World, Fahrenheit 451, The Handmaid’s Tale, Y the Last Man, or Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents to see what I mean. This did not start yesterday with The Hunger Games and Divergent. But that is neither here nor there, except to say that Station Eleven is a fantastic post-apocalyptic tale and should fear of trendy buzzwords keep you away, you will miss out greatly in passing this one by.

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