all the birdsTake two middle school nerds, outliers who are each supremely gifted in opposing ways.  Add one assassin. Sprinkle in some mentors from unlikely places. Liberally dose with unsympathetic families. Add some laugh out loud humor. And you have a very unusual book. Patricia learns that she can talk to birds and practice astral projection. Laurence builds a supercomputer in his closet. Of course they are fatally bonded to one another despite their protests. And they just may destroy the planet. Author Charlie Jane Andres’ All the Birds in the Sky is a genre bender of a novel–parts sci fi, fantasy, romance, and adventure. It’s one of two books I’ve read recently that are completely engrossing and impossible to categorize. A breathless ride.

The Sleep Garden by Jim Krusoe focuses on the residents of an underground apartment building called the Burrow. Some of the residents may be writing books, while making a living trading stocks online or operating a phone sex business. One obsessively carves ducks . One is having an affair with the former girlfriend of two of sleep gardenthe others. None of them has been outside in a very long time.
Supplies mysteriously appear during the night. Meanwhile, outside
of the Burrow, a retired sea captain and popular story teller gives product endorsements while he is stalked by Junior, a psychopath who might be his son.  The internal lives of the characters are alternately presented and give rise to questions about the nature of stories–the ones we tell ourselves and the ones that we tell to the world. Memorable and intriguing.

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