This is a series of reviews of my favorite books published between 2010 and 2019. These are shorter reviews of good reads published in 2019.
The Institute by Stephen King (2019)
Solid King entertainment. True to form, once I was hooked I couldn’t put it down. King gives his characters heart in a way that so few other popular authors can do. Overall, the plot did reminded me of a novel-length treatment of Ursula K. Le Guin’s well-known short story, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas.”
In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado (2019)
Machado has written an incredibly powerful book that does three amazing things all at once: It makes the nebulous but horrific experience of emotional abuse feel palpably real. It exposes the hidden world of women abusing women in lesbian relationships and examines without flinching all the uncomfortable questions that raises. And it does something completely new with the memoir form. If it had achieved any of these three, it would be worth reading, but that it can do all of them is an extraordinary achievement.
Golden State by Ben H. Winters (2019)
I really admire Ben Winters’s niche of combining noir detective stories with speculative scenarios. This one is set in a future after some cataclysmic event, in which the state of California has become an isolationist “Golden State,” where everything is recorded for the Record and lying is illegal. Once again, though, it is the intriguing detective caught up in events larger than he is at the center of the story that makes it exciting and relatable.