What We’re Reading / What You’re Reading 05.31.2013


It’s time for another Friday edition of the segment where we fill you in on what we’re reading, and we hope that you’ll reciprocate by telling us what you’re enjoying (or loathing) as well.

Don’t be shy, we want to hear from you! Feedback from our followers will play a role in helping us to determine what books to read, review, and feature on this site over the coming months. It will also give us a better idea of the topics and genres that interest you.

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The Shelter Cycle by Peter Rock


The distance in your eyes

Chosen as May’s Critical Era Book Club selection, Peter Rock’s most recent novel is based on real events that occurred in the 1980s and 90s.  Francine and Colville grew up in the Church Universal and Triumphant, a religious sect that predicted that the end of the world would occur in the late 1980s.  In preparation for such events, the Church built massive underground shelters in Montana and stockpiled food, clothing, weapons, and medical supplies to last for 10 years.  When the Church’s leader became ill and the end of the world never arrived, much of the group dissolved.

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Best New Fiction: June 2013


The Best New Fiction segment deserves its own logo, doesn’t it?  We thought so and we happily went about whipping one up for your enjoyment.  You’re welcome.  Do you love it or do you think we need to go back to the drawing board?

Along with officially ushering in the summer season, the month of June brings with it the return of some heavy hitters, including 2010 National Book Award finalist Lionel Shriver, and 2009 winner Colum McCann.  Oh yes, but the sixth month of the year isn’t content to stop there is it?  What a show-off!

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Basti by Intizar Husain


World of confusion, air filled with noise

Like Frances W. Pritchett mentions in her translator notes at the close of the novel, Intizar Husain’s Basti is an imperfect look at life in modern Pakistan.  This doesn’t mean that the novel is a failure, far from it in fact, but in some respects it does feel lacking.  Taking both the cultural and structural challenges into consideration, the task of translating the Urdu language into English can’t be an easy one, and as a result the text here flows extremely well in some places and feels oddly rough in others.  This mostly works in the novel’s favor, making the moments of conflict feel all that more unsettling, yet there are times when it becomes regrettably laughable.  From the book’s glossary:

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