Care of Wooden Floors / Will Wiles
synopsis – Two friends, one a cultured, refined, and successful music composer, and the other a pedestrian, careless, and poor copywriter agree to a house and pet sitting arrangement. The composer must fly overseas for divorce proceedings, and so the writer will stay in his friend’s immaculate, resplendent flat for a few weeks. A dream gig and a fresh environment to get motivated and inspired to finally write that breakout novel. But of course, there are a few flat rules to follow. The most important of which is to NOT DAMAGE THE WOODEN FLOORS. Seems simple enough… right?
reaction – As a professional (paid) house and pet sitter, and a professional (paid) writer, I strongly identified with the main character is this novel. He reflected many of the related life experiences and philosophies I’ve had. Even the self-assessment and friendship dynamics mirrored my own. As he sank further into a self-inflicted quagmire of unintended consequence and catastrophe, my gut twisted and lurched with a “There but for the grace of fate… ” empathy. Each page had a sentence, a paragraph, that caught my breath with its devastation and beauty. I will be reading this book again, it’s now in my top ten favorite.
recommendation – This book renewed my will to live.
Beam / Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant
synopsis – In a near-future USA, the Beam supercomputer network monitors and facilitates your daily life. Work, sleep, play, every aspect of existence is automatically analyzed and adjusted for your convenience. And as a national political “compromise,” every six years, citizens choose whether to accept a basic living stipend without the chance at career competition and advancement, or no basic living stipend but with a chance of making it to the top of your chosen field through your own hard work, talent, and luck.
reaction – The premise was compelling and the character-block structure was intriguing, but the characters themselves were distant, and the relationships, haphazard. The storyline seemed more like a “slice of life” description than a point A to point B journey. Little explanation was given to the rise of the Beam and its powers. But at the end of the book, I found myself in deep contemplation of the choices I would make in this future plausible society.
recommendation – You’re taking your chances with this hit and miss book.