The Book Cafe
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The Book Cafe

#11 George in the Jungle but Toxic

The human race remaining on Planet Earth is not guaranteed.

Photo by Krisjanis Mezulis on Unsplash

I think I am in a reading slump? — which is sad because it’s summer!! I need a quick thriller to bring me back or that new Taylor Jenkins Reid book will probably do the trick.

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett 3.75/5

“A town always looked different once you’d returned, like a house where all the furniture had shifted three inches. You wouldn’t mistake it for a stranger’s house but you’d keeping banging your shins on the table corners.”

I am not a twin, that ship has sailed, but this book brings me as close as I can get.

This is a story of twin mixed race girls living in Southern America that witness a traumatic event that leads them on two different life paths. It has very clear themes of racism and colourism — one decides to pass as a white woman and the other black and from there their lives diverge — not only does the world treat them differently but they look at the world differently.

I really enjoyed how each sister chose their justification for the choices they made and understandably struggled to see the others point of view. I wish it focused more on the sisters rather than having sections dedicated to their children as the bond between them is what makes the book compelling.

Magpie by Elizabeth Day 4/5

“She has come to realise that the ferocity of this kind of love is enough to drive you mad; that the tragic law of parenthood is that you equip your child to leave you. But what if you never want to let them go?”

This is exactly what you need to get out of any reading slumps. It’s so fast paced and keeps you intrigued for 95% of the book.

It follows a woman suspicious of her husbands relationship with the new lodger — which is made even more upsetting considering she is pregnant after months of fertility treatment.

I knew going in there was going to be a plot twist — which slightly ruined it because I was anticipating and trying to guess it from the beginning. It still floored me though — it turns into a completely different story- in a good way.

The characters were a bit lackluster, it tended to lean towards caricature — the husband was described an angel but the book focused more on story so I forgave that a bit more. What really stopped me from giving it the coveted 5 stars was everything after the plot twist — the story just fizzled out.

The Hot Zone: The Terrifying True Story of the Origins of the Ebola Virus by Richard Preston 4/5

“In a sense, the Earth is mounting an immune response against the human species. It is beginning to react to the human parasite, the flooding infection of people, the dead spots of the concrete all over the planet, the cancerous rot-outs in Europe, Japan and the United States, thick with replicating primates, the colonies enlarging and spreading and threatening to shock the biosphere with mass extinctions. Perhaps the biosphere does not ‘like’ the idea of five billion humans.”

This was more scary than any horror book you could ever read. Dracula? Haunting of Hill House? The Shining? Pfft! Don’t even come close to the horrors I read about Ebola.

It describes the scientists searching for the origins of different strains of Ebola virus in the jungles of Africa. It does a great job at reminding you of how bad Ebola is but also how much worse it could be. The effect it has on the body is devastating and Preston does not shy away from depicting it in vivid detail.

He is able to humanise the “characters” in the story so the tension when they are in these ridiculously dangerous situation seeps through the pages and makes your heart race.

My only qualm was he ominous ending — there wasn’t a resolution which isn’t necessarily a bad ting — but personally the cliff hanger that Ebola just disappeared and could come back was a bit too intense.

My TBR is not looking the most inspiring so I might do a little re-read of my favourites — Evelyn Hugo, here I come.

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