“Let’s not go there.” That’s what people always say about places where they already are.
Some well known, bestseller books are overrated, over-hyped disappointments. Meanwhile, incredible books can languish on the shelves, receiving only a fraction of the attention and publicity they deserve.
Stellar Reads shines a light on these overlooked gems. There is an excerpt from the synopsis (because often the back of the book tells you more than you need to know), the first sentence, favorite quotes and why it deserves to be read. Saving the best for last, the book and its cover are revealed for the finale.
From the back of the book:
It begins with Peter, a devoted man of faith, as he is called to the mission of a lifetime, one that takes him galaxies away from his wife, Bea. Peter becomes immersed in the mysteries of an astonishing new environment, overseen by an enigmatic corporation known only as USIC. His work introduces him to a seemingly friendly native population struggling with a dangerous illness and hungry for Peter’s teachings. But Peter is rattled when Bea’s letters from home become increasingly desperate: typhoons and earthquakes are devastating whole countries, and governments are crumbling. Bea’s faith, once the guiding light of their lives, begins to falter.
Why it’s stellar:
It is always refreshing to find an original novel that you will likely remember long after you have finished it. This one was slower moving for much of the book which will be a turnoff for some readers, but I never lost interest or engagement with the plot.
It’s heavy on theology (it is after all about a missionary spreading the gospel, even if it does happen on another planet with aliens), but Peter, the M.C. and preacher, is so flawed (believable) and sincere with his thoughts and ideas that I didn’t feel the book came across as preachy. I found it very interesting that many of the author’s words rang true to my ears, yet he proclaims to be an atheist. Perhaps his Christian upbringing and formerly devout spouse led to his ability to write so strongly about faith?
My favorite thing about this one is that it gets you thinking. It is a very clever and imaginative novel that was enhanced by reading in audiobook format. The narrator does a great job of putting an alien sound to the natives’ dialogue…something I would have struggled with if left to my own imagination.
First sentence: ‘I was going to say something,’ he said.
Favorite quotes: The world changes too fast. You take your eyes off something that’s always been there, and the next minute it’s just a memory.
Clothes are nothing more than a fig leaf. And the bodies beneath are just another layer of clothing, an outfit of flesh with an impractically thin leather exterior, in various shades of pink, yellow and brown. The souls alone are real. Seen in this way, there can never be any such thing as social unease or shyness or embarrassment. All you need do is greet your fellow soul.
The Book Reveal:
The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber