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Month in review

Reviews
Across the Continent by The Lincoln Highway by Effie Price Gladding
The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights by John Steinbeck
Arsène Lupin, Gentleman-Thief by Maurice Leblanc
Baby Driver: A Story About Myself by Jan Kerouac
Blackwork by Monica Ferris
Bone Gap by Laura Ruby
Buttons and Bones by Monica Ferris
Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood
The Colossus of Roads: Myth and Symbol Along the American Highway by Karal Ann Marling
Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant by Tony Cliff
Far from Fair by Elana K. Arnold
Footer Davis Probably Is Crazy by Susan Vaught
The Friendship Riddle by Megan Frazer Blakemore
The Inn Between by Marina Cohen
The Isle by Jordana Frankel Jem and The Holograms 1 by Kelly Thompson
Kissing in America by Margo Rabb
The Land of Forgotten Girls by Erin Entrada Kelly
The Missing Ink by Karen E. Olson
Monkey Beach by Eden Robinson
The Nameless City by Faith Erin Hicks
No Ghouls Allowed by Victoria Laurie
Painting with a Lens by Rod Deutschmann and Robin Deutschmann
Photography of Natural Things by Freeman Patterson
Splat and the Cool School Trip by Rob Scotton
Survival Strategies of the Almost Brave by Jen White
Twenty Yawns by Jane Smiley
Umbrella by Taro Yashima The Underwater Welder by Jeff Lemire
The Ward by Jordana Frankel
The Woman-Haters by Joseph C. Lincoln

Miscellaneous
My life as a teenage book addict, or, Sarah becomes a reader
Playing Pokémon Go as a parent
The terrible previews before Ghostbusters

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Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge 2017 February - January 2017-8



The Ward: 07/06/16

The Ward by Jordana Frankel

The Ward by Jordana Frankel is a post-environmental disaster story set in the remains of Manhattan, now renamed the Ward. It's a mostly flooded island now where people live in the non-flooded floors and grow food on the rooftops. They are also suffering from a contagious and fatal disease called the Blight.

Ren is a teenaged drag racer who sidelines as a hunter of fresh water. At the start of a race she's given a tip about a new source of fresh that she'll be well rewarded for if she can find.

The hidden stream is semi-fictional, based on description of a stream that used to flow through Manhattan and whose name is remembered via the short Minetta Street and Minetta Lane.

Thematically the book is similar to The Drowned World by J. G. Ballard. I read it, though, as part of the "Under Manhattan" side project of my road narrative project. Manhattan as one of the metropolitan hubs is fairly anti personal car, favoring instead taxis, buses, and of course the subway. It's also flat enough (though very long) that it can be walked given good shoes and enough time.

Given the city's long history (by United States standards) and the way the subway system and the consolidation of the Five Boroughs created the modern New York City, there are numerous stories featuring the under layers of New York and specifically Manhattan. Even in a disaster story, Manhattan maintains layers and the subway will be there as a strange reminder of a previous civilization.

Manhattan though, being also previously New Amsterdam and before that inhabited by the Lenape. This provenance gives the island a literary mysticism. Sure, Washington DC has a similar history and has the bonus of being so well planned. It also has its ties to the Masons. But there's something about the unruly growth of Manhattan that engenders the fantastical tales of hidden societies, magical water, underground hauntings, mood slime, and so forth.

Four stars

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