Sourdough Rises and I Get Ready for Fall Reading

With the release of Sourdough, the second novel from Robin Sloan, my fall reading has officially begun. I always feel that I am either behind or constantly surrounded by books that I want to read, but this book I actually counted down the days until its release. It was a buy food or buy book situation and of course I chose the book. And I was not disappointed. I completely fell in love with Sloan’s first novel, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, a mixture of nerdy computer jargon and book nerd imagination with a touch of magic. Sourdough completely follows in that tradition. Except this time, instead of computers and books, its robots and food.

The main character, Lois Clary works as a software engineer for General Dexterity, a robotics company in San Fransisco. She has moved from rural Michigan and soon falls prey to her job and repetitive life in a larger city. It is so very early in the book, page 5 to be completely honest where Sloan grabs me:

“Here’s a thing I believe about people my age:we are the children of Hogwarts, and more than anything, we just want to be sorted”

Are you completely fucking kidding me? Does Robin Sloan know my whole life? And that was that, hooked…done, I would have stayed with Lois wherever she went. If the story was about her turning into sourdough I would keep reading.

Completely consumed by her job she herself becomes a sleep deprived robot even substituting her meals for a gag-worthy “nutritive gel” called Slurry. Gross. Finally, Lois calls the number on a takeout menu from “Clement Street Soup and Sourdough” and starts to not only feed her body, but her soul.

After becoming completely dependent on “Clement Street” for her daily bread she is horrified to learn that the immigrant brothers who run “Clement Street Soup and Sourdough” illegally out of their home have to leave the country. They do however leave her with a gift, the sourdough starter. And thus, Lois’s story begins. It is no surprise that the starter is infused with some kind of magic. The kind of magic that, just like in Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, you’re not completely sure is real magic or the kind of magic that comes from the characters own belief in the magic of the object. But this starter is magical, it sings in the middle of the night an creates a light show on Lois’s walls. It allows Lois to come to life and out of her shell, she teaches herself how to bake bread and while baking life into loaves of sourdough she bakes life back into herself. Sourdough is a delicious read and Sloan makes it easy to devour.


Fall is normally the busiest time for books, it is a bibliophiles happy time. And with my first anticipated release already behind me I am under way in conquering my fall tbr (to be read) So here is what I am looking forward to as well as what everyone else says you should be looking forward to.

I have developed a small addiction to my Audible subscription. I do however, have some rules for my audio book selections: the author has to read the work. This limits me to non-fiction and memoir and I have expanded this genre of my personal library by a whole lot.

Therefore my most anticipated audio books are:

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in CrisisJ.D. Vance (I already finish this by the time I published this post.)

What Happened?Hillary Rodham Clinton (currently listening)

The Futilitarians: Our Year of Thinking, Drinking, Grieving, and ReadingAnne Gisleson

We Were Eight Years in Power: An American TragedyTa-Nehisi Coates

Uncommon Type:Some StoriesTom Hanks (Uhm Tom Hanks writes a book of short stories? Yes please!)

They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill UsHanif Willis-Abdurraqib (I am not sure if this will be recorded for an audio book but it fits the criteria so I hope it does.)

My most anticipated print books:

VoyagerDiana Gabaldon (This is a back list read as I am reading along with the show Outlander, a very good book adaptation show.)

Little Fires EverywhereCeleste Ng

Sing, Unburied, SingJesmyn Ward

The Origin of OthersToni Morrison

The Sun and Her FlowersRupi Kaur

The Rules of Magic-Alice Hoffman (Which will lead to me reading another book on my backlist Practical Magic. Because a prequel to Practical Magic? Yes ma’am.)

Wonder ValleyIvy Pochoda

And finally, here is what everyone else thinks you should be reading this fall:

Book Riot

The New York Times

NPR

Publisher’s Weekly

Happy Reading all!!

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Acts 1 & 2 by Jack Thorne: A Review

I cannot deny that I was one of the millions of Harry Potter fans that was ecstatic to hear the news that our messiah J.K. Rowling would grace us with another window in the Wonderful Wizarding World of Harry Potter, with a new story revolving around Harry’s young son Albus.  This new story however, would be portrayed onstage at the Palace Theater in London, information that both excited me and made me want to ugly cry. Knowing I would never be able to see the play live in London and that the chances of me ever really see the play anywhere were slim, I waited with mounting anticipation for the release of the script version written by Jack Thorne. I was so excited that I almost succeeded in talking my friend into attending the release party at my neighborhood Barnes and Noble but do to my lack of coaxing skills, we did not attend.

I didn’t have to wait long however to receive my copy, for my enabler of a boyfriend had a fresh hardcover waiting for me when I got home from my shift the day of it’s release. I obviously took the next day off of work.

I spent my day off laying on my couch flying (pun fully intended) through the pages of dialogue laid before me by Thorne. I was pleasantly greeted with familiar characters with their familiar personalities like seeing old friends again, but could not get over the missing feeling of the whole. The whole world that we as Harry Potter readers are immersed into by Rowling’s descriptions, development and adjectives.

I have to give a small disclaimer, I have recently been using my monthly audible.com credits to listen to the magnificent human being that is Jim Dale tell Harry’s story via audio book. It just so happens that I am almost to the end of Book 4, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, which is where the central focus of Cursed Child takes place. It is different listening to Harry’s emotions about competing in Triwizard Tournament as an adult. Now I find myself closing in on Harry’s anxieties and tensions with both himself and his support system. Listening to over 20 hours of Harry’s development to become a champion all while knowing what is to become in the series, Cursed Child felt completely rushed. The major twist within the plot read like fan fiction and I don’t know if this is something to dislike with the story or the prelude to a bigger discussion of what has happened to Harry since the internet has gotten a hold of him. I follow Albus and his friend Scorpious through their adventure through time back and feel like I am being robbed of Albus’s true issue of identity within the story. Albus’s first three years at Hogwarts are a blur of stage production and special effects that when cleared the reader is introduced to a sullen teenager with Daddy issues that seem underdeveloped.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was an anticipated welcome back to friends that I haven’t seen in years but like most friends that I have left behind, I seem to the have changed and our relationship just doesn’t seem the same.