Tag Archives: Random House

Review: The Dreamers

The Dreamers

The Dreamers
By Karen Thompson Walker
Random House Trade Paperbacks, 9780812984668, November 2019, 336pp.

The Short of It:

This book originally came out in January 2019, way before our own pandemic hit and yet, the pandemic detailed in this story could have been taken right out of the headlines of today, minus the sleeping illness, of course.

The Rest of It:

The story takes place in the fictional town of Santa Lora, California. Santa Lora is a sleepy little college town (pun intended). Many of its residents work at the local university or at the very least know someone who goes there. In the dorms one day, Mei notices that her roommate is still sleeping although morning has come and gone. Her attempts to wake her are futile. The girl will not wake.

In another part of town, people are falling asleep where they are whether that is in the middle of a jog or walking the family dog. As more and more victims are discovered, the government is called in along with several medical professionals to determine what is actually happening. Is it psychological? Is the water contaminated?

As the story unfolds and the situation becomes more dire, Walker introduces us to the survivors as well as those who will eventually succumb to the sickness. What does it all mean? Why do some wake and others don’t and why are they different after surviving?

So much of this story resonates with me, given the pandemic that we are currently living with. The way the sickness spreads, the lack of understanding in the early days of the sickness, the conspiracy theories hinting at government control. The true winner here is the way Walker plays with dreams and memory. Some of the survivors remember vivid dreams that they had while sleeping. Some feel they are premonitions of the future, others believe they are memories from the past. What’s real anyway?

There are a lot of characters but they are all so distinct and their situations unique enough where I never felt confused over who was who or what was going on. It’s very well done. I cared enough about each of them to worry about their survival and that says a lot.

If you can tolerate a book about a pandemic, and I must say a sleeping sickness sounds a lot better than what we are dealing with now, then pick it up. Someone on FB said that when they read fiction now, they feel uncomfortable when reading about gatherings without masks and the like since they are so conditioned now to meet safely. Well, you won’t have that issue here because masks are the norm in this story.

Source: Review copy provided by the publisher.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

Review: A Truck Full of Money (DNF)

A Truck Full of Money

A Truck Full of Money
By Tracy Kidder
Random House, 9780812995244, September 2016, 288pp.

The Short of It:

If you are into the start-up culture and enjoy seeing ideas comes to fruition, you will find something of value in this read.

The Rest of It:

This is the story of Paul English, a kinetic and unconventional inventor and entrepreneur, who as a boy rebelled against authority. Growing up in working-class Boston, English discovers a medium for his talents the first time he sees a computer. As a young man, despite suffering from what would eventually be diagnosed as bipolar disorder, he begins his pilgrim’s journey through the ups and downs in the brave new world of computers. Relating to the Internet as if it’s an extension of his own mind, he discovers that he has a talent for conceiving innovative enterprises and building teams that can develop them, becoming “a Pied Piper” of geeks. ~ Indiebound

If you paid attention to the title of this post, you’ll see that this was a DNF (did not finish) for me . This is a rarity, especially when it comes to a book club pick, which is what A Truck Full of Money was to me. I try really hard to finish all book club selections but I just could not get past the 45% mark on my Kindle.

It’s well-written, so it’s definitely not the writing that caused me to eventually give up. No, I believe it was the subject matter. I work in Information Technology. I am surrounded by programmers and application developers but within the higher education sector so I expected to be somewhat enlightened to this new world of start-ups but I was bored people! Bored out of my mind.

At one point, Paul English becomes heavily involved in philanthropy and this part interested me because when someone is in possession of that much money, and we are talking quite a bit of money, it’s admirable when they choose to support charitable causes.

Kidder goes back into English’s childhood and here again, I was kind of pulled in only to be pushed away again. It just wasn’t enough for me to keep reading but he was the founder of Kayak.com and battled bipolar disorder to get to where he is today so I’m not really sure what didn’t work for me because his story is certainly compelling.

Have you read A Truck Full of Money? If so, let me know your thoughts.

Source: Borrowed
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.