The time between

  • by Richard, Everett Public Library staff
  • Tuesday, December 24, 2013 11:00am
  • LifeA Reading Life

The brief interregnum between the mega holidays of Christmas and New Year’s has always seemed like a strange in-between time. What is to be done with this brief moment after the opening of presents and before the counting down of the old year? Some may scour the stores for end of the year deals, others might clean out the house and work on their list of New Year’s resolutions. During this short respite why not take a moment to learn about a few titles that came out in 2013 which may have slipped under your radar. These three titles are a bit quirky and hard to categorize, as befits this time of year, but they are well worth your time and attention.

The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell

Meet Rose Baker, a seemingly prim and proper typist who is trying to make her way in 1920s New York. Rose is tasked with typing up transcripts of interrogations at the decrepit Lower East Side police station where she works. Her life is shaken up with the appearance of a new employee, Odalie, who is everything Rose is not: outgoing, sophisticated, well-heeled, daring and prone to visiting speakeasies with shady characters. Rose knows something nefarious is going on, but what? The story and setting are intriguing but what makes this novel stand out is Rose’s unreliable narration. Everything is told from her point of view, but you are never quite sure what is real and what is a figment of her imagination. The ending with a twist will have you scratching your head for days, but in a good way.

On Looking: Eleven Walks with Expert Eyes by Alexandra Horowitz

Early on in this excellent series of essays, the author points out that our inattentiveness to detail is actually a survival mechanism. So much is going on around us, that our mind simply cannot process it all. To get around this lack of attention, Horowitz goes on a series of walks with those who can see what we often miss: the geological history of the stonework of buildings, the subconscious walking patterns of those navigating the city streets, the myriad typefaces found in signage and their meaning, and even the different ways a toddler and a dog see the same streets we traverse every day. This book is best listened to rather than read, so you can slowly absorb each chapter at a leisurely pace to get the full impact. Luckily the author, who also narrates the audiobook, is as skilled a reader as she is a writer.

Days in the History of Silence by Merethe Lindstrom

Some might consider this novel, which won the Nordic Council Literature Prize, to be a tad bleak. And in truth, it does have the feel of Bergman film. But if you can entertain the possibility that the universe might be indifferent, this work will reward you in many ways. Eva and Simon have spent most of their lives together, raised three grown daughters and live in a nice quiet suburb. But a few years after they both retire, Simon inexplicably stops speaking. It could be the onset of some form of dementia or it could also be by choice. Oddly the silence started with the abrupt dismissal of their beloved housekeeper. The novel is told entirely from Eva’s point of view in sparse but very affecting prose as she tries to grapple with Simon’s “condition.” In the end, this novel is an intense examination of what we keep hidden from ourselves and others and whether our silence is necessary or simply a destructive force.

So there you have it, a few titles for a very brief season. Revel in your time.

Be sure to visit A Reading Life for more reviews and news of all things happening at the Everett Public Library.

More in Life

‘Last Jedi’ is the best ‘Star Wars’ movie since the first one

This instant-classic popcorn movie makes clever references to the past while embracing the new.

‘The Shape of Water’: 1950s creature feature meets 2017 allegory

Director Guillermo del Toro’s allegory bears his fetishes for monsters and surrealistic environments.

‘Ferdinand’ a modern take on the beloved children’s story

The lovable bull is back in an enjoyable but spotty animated film from the makers of “Ice Age.”

Art mimicks reality in engrosing ‘On the Beach at Night Alone’

The Korean film tells the story of an actress recovering from an affair with a married director.

Everett’s Michael ‘Scooby’ Silva is the leader of the (dog) pack

Since 2012, he’s built a thriving business walking dogs while their owners are at work.

Student winners to perform concertos with Mukilteo orchestra

This annual show is a partnership with the Snohomish County Music Teachers Association.

Red wine usually costs more, but you can still find bargains

Here are five good-quality reds that won’t drain your grocery budget.

Beer of the Week: Skull Splitter and Blood of My Enemies

Aesir Meadery of Everett and Whiskey Ridge Brewing of Arlington collaborated to make two braggots.

Booze notebook: Scrappy Punk marks first year in Snohomish

The latest on Snohomish County’s breweries, wineries and distilleries.

Most Read