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Sorrow and Bliss and…

Morgan: Sorrow & Bliss by Meg Mason—Emblazoned across the cover of this funny and sad book is a comparison to Phoebe Wallace-Bridge’s Fleabag. For once, the hype is not an exaggeration. A love story seen through the eyes of the annoying, funny, vulnerable Martha, who is eventually diagnosed with a mental illness, this book will make you laugh and cry. This is, for want of a better description, high quality, contemporary, chick lit for Millennials to Gen X—and this boomer loved it. ($33)

Viki: Squeeze Me by Carl Hiaasen—After a couple of not-so-good outings, Carl Hiaasen is back. As is his one-eyed road-kill gourmet  eco-terrorist, ex-governor Clinton Tyree aka Skink—back to wreak eco-vengeance on the President’s Palm Beach ‘Winter Palace’ with an infestation of giant Burmese pythons. This is vintage Hiaasen screwball crime with a colourful cast including an estranged & straying first couple, crazy rich Republicans, dull-witted petty crims & dope fiends, put-upon cops & secret service agents, a malfunctioning tanning bed, and a classic Hiaasen heroine—wildlife wrangler, Angie Armstrong—owner & lone staffer of Discreet Captures. Fake news? Deep state hoax? Great fun! ($33)

Elissa: Piranesi by Susanna Clarke—If you’ve read Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell you’ll know what to expect—a beautiful mix up of philosophy, magic and that lovely Clarke touch of humour and academia. After a slow and curious beginning Piranesi evolves into a beautifully wrought story of one person’s struggle to understand their place in the world. I was entirely satisfied by Clarke’s foray into a compact & deftly written novel. (If you haven’t read Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, why not?) ($28)

Jonathon: Blindness by Jose Saramago—This is one of the books that won Saramago the Nobel Prize. He tells his stories with one voice, through long airy sentences—as though Saramago himself is breathlessly recounting his characters’ predicaments to you—and with rich allusion to literature that I’m sure different readers will find their own gems in. Blindness is a brutal dystopia that gets very dark very fast—perhaps one for the brave. ($15)