My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh

My attraction to this book lies in the title. Wouldn’t we all love a year of rest and relaxation? We would finally wake up rested and refreshed and ready to take on the world. What I wouldn’t do for just a couple nights of deep, uninterrupted sleep let alone a whole year!

Our protagonist has figured out a fancy cocktail of pills and put herself to bed. She’s planned it all out, having the bills paid automatically, put her one friend on notice and found the perfect therapist to keep her pills coming on a regular basis. With her VCR loaded she watches old movies until she can drift off.

When she awakes, she walks down the block to the 24 hour bodega for coffee and a snack. What she doesn’t know however is that sometimes she goes places and buys things without any recollection of doing so. She’s in a drug induced sleep walk. She devises a plan to keep that in check as well.

My Year of Rest and Relaxation is crazy and quirky. I would never go to the great lengths this character did to get a good year’s worth of sleep but I’m jealous she was able to pull it off. This novel is weird but in its own way kind of fun, well written, and entertaining. Just don’t read it before bed!

The Dog Stars by Peter Heller

I want you to know up front that The Dog Stars is about a post apocalyptic world where the majority of people have died due to an especially virulent strain of influenza. Many of those who survived the flu were left with a rare and deadly blood disease.

Hig has survived both and lives at an abandoned air field somewhere north of Denver. He shares the area with Bangley, a take no prisoners kind of guy and weapons enthusiast. Hig patrols their domain by air in an old Cessna and Bangley keeps a watchful eye on the ground with an automatic rifle and a few grenades.

The Dog Stars is written in an unusual style and that only adds to its appeal. Our survival instinct is tenacious. Yet in all kinds of adversity we remain human, still needing other humans to ground us and keep our will to live going strong. Hig and Bangley were very different kind of people and by circumstances beyond anything we can imagine, were brought together. By the end of the book, I really liked these guys. I rooted for them both to be the start of something better in the world.

I loved The Dog Stars and hope you will too. Let’s find the good in all of us before it’s too late because it’s there just waiting to be found.

The Captain Underpants Book Club

The other day I went to my local bookstore to work on my current writing project. After being cooped up in the house for a week during the slow moving Hurricane Dorian, I longed for a change of scenery.

While there, three brothers came and sat in the empty chairs next to me. I’d say they were about seven to ten years old. Each had a Captain Underpants book. Now I have never read a Captain Underpants book but I get the gist of who he is and what he thinks is funny. The brothers read a little, showed the pictures to each other and started a discussion about what they were reading.

Children after my own heart. They loved to read and then discuss what they had read. A book club of sorts. Now I know Captain Underpants has a friend named Crackers and they deal with a lot of poo which promotes laughter every time. If underpants and poo can get kids excited about reading, then why not! I’m all for it.

Later their mother came by to apologize if they were disturbing me. I said absolutely not! They were a joy to be around and she’d taught them well. And I was invited to an impromptu book club that I enjoyed every minute of even if I hadn’t read the book! I didn’t get much of my own writing done, but I had a great time at a place I never thought I’d be, the meeting of the Captain Underpants book club.