Posts Tagged With: Landline

Books: Sci-Fi and Fantasy for the Winter

Winter Reads

Thanksgiving is officially over (it went very well, thank you!) and I finished putting up my Christmas things on Sunday.  It’s cold here – in the 40s – and I’m hoping it quits soon because I own, like, 2 sweaters that are actually warm and weren’t bought for pretty.  Next weekend is when all the Christmas events start happening in my town.

There’s no way it will snow here, though.  So in the absence of actual snow, I need literary snow.  And for some reason, all my favorite winter books have a fantastical component.  Here are three that you should read, if you like this sort of thing:

Landline: A Novel, by Rainbow Rowell: Georgie McCool has always put her career as a scriptwriter front and center, and her husband Neil has picked up the slack.  When she and best friend Seth have the chance to pitch the script of their lifetime, if they can write it in five days, Georgie knows Neil will be upset.  But he’ll probably roll with Georgie’s assessment that they can’t bring the girls to his family’s house for Christmas like they planned.  Georgie didn’t forsee that Neil would be more than pissed.  He takes the girls to his parent’s house, leaves Georgie in California, and then is strangely unavailable.  Frantic, Georgie calls Neil from an old rotary phone in her bedroom to find that she’s dialed 20 years in the past.  But can she save her marriage from decades away?

Wintersmith (Tiffany Aching), by Terry Pratchett: Tiffany Aching accidentally joins the dark mummer’s dance, and then has to contend with Jack Frost, who thinks she’s his new girlfriend.  Embarrassing snowflakes in Tiffany’s shape, a cornucopia spilling out all sorts of things you just don’t want, the Nac Mac Feegles, and relations with the human boy Tiffany has a thing with are just some of the problems she faces.  But now that Tiffany has dethroned the goddess of spring, will Summer ever come again?

The Left Hand of Darkness, by Ursula K. LeGuin: Genly Ai has agreed to go as an emissary to the planet deemed Winter to see if he can get them to join the ecumenical society of planets.  It is first contact, and Genly is more than aware that he could be killed or imprisoned.  Winter is a world where most humans there are genderless until they mate, and over the course of a lifetime can be both male and female.  The planet is as unforgiving as it’s icy landscape, with a strange code of behavior called shifgrethor, and Genly is getting nowhere with his quest.  He places his trust in Prime Minister Estraven, who is then accused of treason and cast out of the kingdom.  But Genly and Estraven meet again in a work camp on the outskirts of civilization, and together they undertake a perilous journey over icy wastelands so that they can be free.


All links are affiliate links.  Enjoy!

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Book Reviews: 3 by Rainbow Rowell

Rainbow Rowell is my new obsession.  Her books are filled with flawed characters who live in the world I do and want the things I want.  Her plots may be slightly unlikely, but they err on the “OMG I wish that happened to me,” side.  Oddly enough, they make me long for that time when I was 20 and uncertain of everything except how much I loved Brian.  And how easy it was to love him in detail back then without the cares of the world to intercede.  I don’t get nostalgic for my 20s often, so the fact that Rowell can do that is a form of magic.  At this point, I’ll be reading everything she’s ever written.  The only one I haven’t dived into so far is Eleanor and Park.

My conclusion in a nutshell: READ THEM!  READ THEM ALL!  NOW!

Rainbow Rowell

Attachments: A Novel

I picked up this book because the premise sounded fun.  Man hired to read and screen company e-mails gets sucked in by the quippy correspondence between two girls in the office and falls in love with one.  I mean, it was written by a woman named Rainbow.  It had to be fun, right?  I expected a cute, light read.  What I didn’t expect was the depth of character.

Lincoln (the e-mail reader) is this sad guy deeply in need of, well, something.  He lives with his mother and pines for the high school girlfriend who cheated on him once they got to college.  He’s pathetic, but there’s something so attractive about him just the same.  You feel sorry for him, but at the same time you can see how a girl would fall head over heels for him.  I don’t know how Rowell does that, but it’s brilliant.  One of the many reasons to love her.

There is depth in the story of the two girls, also.  One pregnant with a baby she isn’t sure she wants even though she’s happily married.  And another who is trapped in a relationship with a man who has been very clear that he will never marry her, despite her desire to get married.  They go beyond being funny (which they are – hilarious), and become genuine people.

I won’t say too much, but the ending is way more satisfying than I ever thought it could be.  A+

Landline: A Novel

This book is strange, from the standpoint that everything else in Georgie’s life is totally normal, except that she finds a telephone in her bedroom that calls the past.  When she has to stay at home over the holidays to work on a script, her husband takes the kids to his mom’s house without her.  And then is strangely unreachable.  Also enter complicated relationship with male best friend.  So she calls on the telephone and talks to her husband Neal just before he proposed to her, in another time and place 20 years earlier when they were also on the rocks.

This book felt really familiar, in that I think all people who are married build up baggage and decide that the other person is  judging them for things when they might not be.  And that there is a past that was blissful without responsibility involved.  This is the book that made me really nostalgic for those college days when I used to drop by Brian’s house between classes, when he took me out for hot fudge sundaes after work at 2 am.

If this book has any flaws, it is the unlikeliness of that phone existing, and the fact that there doesn’t seem to be an unsolvable problem between Georgie and Neal.  It’s all in her head.  But the flaws might be all in my head.  It was a pretty great read.

Fangirl: A Novel

Just as I’m about to say that this one is my favorite of the three, I remember how great the other two were.  But seriously, this one is SO GREAT.  Cath and Wren (twins) go off to college, and socially challenged Cath is dismayed to find out that her sister doesn’t want to hang out once there.  Cath much prefers the online community she’s built as a fan fiction writing mogul to meeting any new people at all.

But it’s about living with social anxiety, living with a mentally-ill father, dealing with the tragedies in your past, learning to write, and letting yourself fall in love.  Cath’s roommate, Regan, is so negative that she’s hilarious.  Levi’s aerie in the house he lives in is my favorite thing ever.  I would never leave.  And there are super-hot, reading aloud to each other leads to heavy petting, scenes.  Basically every fantasy I’ve ever had.  Another amazing read.

I hear there’s going to be an actual Simon Snow novel next.  I’m a little thrilled about that.

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