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 Crisis —J.D. Vance (I already finish this by the time I published this post.)
What Happened? — Hillary Rodham Clinton (currently listening)
We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy —Ta-Nehisi Coates
Uncommon Type:Some Stories— Tom Hanks (Uhm Tom Hanks writes a book of short stories? Yes please!)
They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us—Hanif 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:
Voyager— Diana Gabaldon (This is a back list read as I am reading along with the show Outlander, a very good book adaptation show.)
Little Fires Everywhere— Celeste Ng
Sing, Unburied, Sing—Jesmyn Ward
The Origin of Others—Toni Morrison
The Sun and Her Flowers— Rupi Kaur
Wonder Valley—Ivy Pochoda
And finally, here is what everyone else thinks you should be reading this fall:
Happy Reading all!!