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Infinite Country by Patricia Engel | Thoughts

   Published : 2021   ||    Format : print   ||    Location : Colombia ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆   What was it about the country that kept everyone hostage to its fantasy? The previous month, on its own soil, an American man went to his job at a plant and gunned down fourteen coworkers, and last spring alone there were four different school shootings. A nation at war with itself, yet people still spoke of it as some kind of paradise.. Thoughts : Infinite Country follows two characters - young Talia, who at the beginning of this book, escapes a girl’s reform school in North Colombia so that she can make her previously booked flight to the US. Before she can do that, she needs to travel many miles to reach her father and get her ticket to the rest of her family. As we follow Talia’s treacherous journey south, we learn about how she ended up in the reform school in the first place and why half her family resides in the US. Infinite Country tells the story of her family through the other protagonist, El

Choosing from Dystopian Titles | Reading from my Shelves

One of my goals this year (as in years past) is to read more books from my own shelves. I'm aiming for a conservative pace of one book a month, hoping that feels doable. This month, I picked Becoming. While trying to decide what I wanted to read next month, I decided to list the top three books that are calling out to me.

As I was writing this post, I found it very interesting that all the three books below are set in dystopian societies. I wonder what my brain is trying to tell me. I typically find it hard to walk away from dystopian titles, especially those that are less focused on individual heroism and more on how the society responds and adapts. What feels dystopian today could be tomorrow's reality. These books are all written by women authors and also came heavily recommended, which is how they found their way to my shelves, of course. Of the three books below, the most recent one is a 2019 release while the oldest book is from 2011.

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

Summary from Indiebound: More than fifteen years after the events of The Handmaid's Tale, the theocratic regime of the Republic of Gilead maintains its grip on power, but there are signs it is beginning to rot from within. At this crucial moment, the lives of three radically different women converge, with potentially explosive results. Two have grown up as part of the first generation to come of age in the new order. The testimonies of these two young women are joined by a third: Aunt Lydia.  Her complex past and uncertain future unfold in surprising and pivotal ways. With The Testaments, Margaret Atwood opens up the innermost workings of Gilead, as each woman is forced to come to terms with who she is, and how far she will go for what she believes.

I'm sure this book is on many 2019 lists. I did purchase it promptly after its release and it has been on my nightstand since - that usually means it's high up on my to-read list but I never got around it it. I read The Handmaid's Tale in 2016 and remember feeling like I was inside a bad dream that I could not shake myself awake from. The book was terrifying to read: despite it being fiction and very obviously set in a dystopian society, several elements of the book felt too realistic. Here's a thought explored extensively in The Sixth Extinction - an extinction may be happening around you but you fail to notice it because it's too close to you. A decade later is probably when you suddenly ask yourself where were those green frogs that had always been in your backyard before you shockingly realize that they are probably gone forever. The events preceding The Handmaid's Tale were of the same nature and so is everything happening around us. While so lost in the present, when do we know that we have passed the point of no return? I know I want to read this sequel but I'm also not ready to discover where the characters go next.

When She Woke by Hillary Jordan

Summary from Indiebound: Bellwether Prize winner Hillary Jordan’s provocative new novel, When She Woke, tells the story of a stigmatized woman struggling to navigate an America of a not-too-distant future, where the line between church and state has been eradicated and convicted felons are no longer imprisoned and rehabilitated but chromed—their skin color is genetically altered to match the class of their crimes—and then released back into the population to survive as best they can. Hannah is a Red; her crime is murder. In seeking a path to safety in an alien and hostile world, Hannah unknowingly embarks on a path of self-discovery that forces her to question the values she once held true and the righteousness of a country that politicizes faith.

Long ago, I had read the first few pages of this book. While reading it, I felt so excited for what felt like a promising start to an exciting story that I put it down to read when I was looking for my next read. Of course, I never read it afterward, with other 'next reads' jostling for attention. Truth be told, I haven't read very much about this book, whether in reviews or otherwise and yet, I remember this book being heavily recommended in several channels.

The Power by Naomi Alderman

Summary from Indiebound: In The Power, the world is a recognizable place: there's a rich Nigerian boy who lounges around the family pool; a foster kid whose religious parents hide their true nature; an ambitious American politician; a tough London girl from a tricky family. But then a vital new force takes root and flourishes, causing their lives to converge with devastating effect. Teenage girls now have immense physical power: they can cause agonizing pain and even death. And, with this small twist of nature, the world drastically resets. From award-winning author Naomi Alderman, The Power is speculative fiction at its most ambitious and provocative, at once taking us on a thrilling journey to an alternate reality, and exposing our own world in bold and surprising ways. 

I don't remember when or where I first heard about The Power but I'm sure it was in someone's glowing review of this book. Barring the few reviews I've read of this book, I actually know very little regarding what this book is about. Which suits me just fine because I do sometimes miss reading a book I know very little about.

I'm not sure yet which one(s) I'll end up reading. One part of me wants to find out how Offred has fared after the events in The Handmaid's Tale but on the other hand, I've been eyeing The Power for a long time now and would love to read it.

Have you read any of these titles? If you were to choose, which one would you recommend?