Rides That Way by Susan Ketchen

Sylvia is galloping through life as only a fourteen year old can do. At school there are friends, bullies and worse. Dinner with her parents is like sidling through a field of land mines. And all of a sudden she’s Keeper of the Secrets: her own, her grandpa’s and her riding coach’s.

Then there’s the whole hormone thing. Those mysterious entities that surge through a teen’s body making them emotional and affecting their bodies in very noticeable ways. Only Sylvia isn’t having that problem. She has Turner Syndrome, which means she’ll always be short and have to wear kids’ clothes the rest of her life because her body will never develop. Unless she wears estrogen patches and she’s not sure about that.

In fact, the only thing Sylvia’s sure about is that she loves hanging out in the barn, lucid dreaming and doing the forbidden – galloping her horse, Brooklyn. Well, Logan Losino, the cute guy at school, is pretty distracting too.

Rides That Way is funny, warm and perceptive. An unpredictable plot keeps the reader turning pages as Sylvia struggles to come to terms with being a teen and having Turner Syndrome. No matter what, she’s determined to be her true self and find acceptance on her own terms.

Rides That Way is the fourth book in Susan Ketchen’s Born That Way series. Each book delves into the life of Sylvia as she navigates the challenges that relationships with people and animals present. And, although the books are stand-alone reads, once you’ve sampled one, you’ll be eager to explore more of Sylvia’s world.

Although typically classed as young adult novels, Ketchen’s characters generate fan mail from readers age 12 to 82 creating their own niche as family fiction. Gently poking fun at the quirky thoughts and actions of people at every age is one of the things Ketchen does best.

Ketchen, a former marriage and family counsellor, lives in Courtenay, BC on a riverside farm along with her husband, two cats, a multi-trick pony and a flock of geriatric chickens.

For more information visit www.susanketchen.ca.

       Ketchen will be signing books at Laughing Oyster Bookshop in downtown Courtenay on Saturday, September 30 from 1:00 – 3:00 pm.

Ketchen and her horse, Lolli, who knows more tricks than most dogs.

 

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

This is one of those pick it up and can’t put it down books. Station Eleven is engaging, compelling and eerily plausible.

The novel, released in Sept. 2014, is written by Emily St. John Mandel who was born and raised on the west coast of Canada and now resides in New York City. For part of her youth, she was homeschooled on Denman Island which is currently home to about 1,000.

But don’t just take my word about the book. Station Eleven has received rave reviews, appeared on the New York Times Bestseller list, been written about in The New Yorker and was shortlisted for the 2014 National Book Awards.

Published by Harper Avenue  ISBN 978-1-44343-486-7
Published by Harper Avenue
ISBN 978-1-44343-486-7

The book is in its sixteenth printing and Mandel has tour dates booked in the USA, United Kingdom, France and beyond into the spring of 2016.

The story takes place sometime in the future after a catastrophic pandemic wipes out huge segments of the population and destroys life as we know it. That means no internet, television, airplanes, automobiles or even grocery stores. Who survives and what must they do in order to do so?

In Station Eleven, Mandel develops a cast of characters, most notably a Shakespearian/music troupe, who travel throughout the Great Lakes region. They search empty homes for canned goods, camp out in Walmart’s and airport terminals and do their best to avoid religious fanatics and families who have gone feral.

The writing is a seamless exploration of personalities and relationships, alliances and confrontations. Mandel takes the reader on an epic journey from past to present to portray a vision of endurance, friendship and compassion.

In my former position as arts writer for the Comox Valley Record, I interviewed Mandel and reviewed her first two novels, Last Night in Montreal and The Singer’s Gun. Those books were good but Station Eleven is excellent.

And although I usually shy away from books that even hint at dystopian science fiction, Mandel’s masterful and genre defying writing found me eagerly picking up Station Eleven each evening and sorry to reach the end.

A few words from Emily:

I wanted to write something quite different from my previous three novels, which were generally categorized as literary noir. I was happy with the way they turned out, but thought it would be interesting to go in a different direction. I love film and theatre, and am interested in the idea of what it means to devote your life to your art, so decided to write about the life of an actor.

At the same time, I was interested in writing about the modern world, this extraordinary place in which we find ourselves: where water comes out of faucets, airplanes cross the sky, lighting a room is as simple as flicking a switch on the wall, and antibiotics are available.

One way of writing about something is to consider its absence, so I thought it would be interesting to set the book in a post-apocalyptic landscape, as a way of considering the modern world. I think of the book as a love letter to the modern world, written in the form of a requiem.

I wrote Station Eleven over the course of two and a half years and spent another three months editing it once I sold it to my publisher.  I’m currently working on a new novel but the topic’s a secret!  

To find out more visit www.emilymandel.com.

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Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

This is one of those pick it up and can’t put it down books. Station Eleven is engaging, compelling and eerily plausible.

The novel, released in Sept. 2014, is written by Emily St. John Mandel who was born and raised on the west coast of Canada and now resides in New York City. For part of her youth, she was homeschooled on Denman Island which is currently home to about 1,000.

But don’t just take my word about the book. Station Eleven has received rave reviews, appeared on the New York Times Bestseller list, been written about in The New Yorker and was shortlisted for the 2014 National Book Awards.

Published by Harper Avenue  ISBN 978-1-44343-486-7
Published by Harper Avenue
ISBN 978-1-44343-486-7

The book is in its sixteenth printing and Mandel has tour dates booked in the USA, United Kingdom, France and beyond into the spring of 2016.

The story takes place sometime in the future after a catastrophic pandemic wipes out huge segments of the population and destroys life as we know it. That means no internet, television, airplanes, automobiles or even grocery stores. Who survives and what must they do in order to do so?

In Station Eleven, Mandel develops a cast of characters, most notably a Shakespearian/music troupe, who travel throughout the Great Lakes region. They search empty homes for canned goods, camp out in Walmart’s and airport terminals and do their best to avoid religious fanatics and families who have gone feral.

The writing is a seamless exploration of personalities and relationships, alliances and confrontations. Mandel takes the reader on an epic journey from past to present to portray a vision of endurance, friendship and compassion.

In my former position as arts writer for the Comox Valley Record, I interviewed Mandel and reviewed her first two novels, Last Night in Montreal and The Singer’s Gun. Those books were good but Station Eleven is excellent.

And although I usually shy away from books that even hint at dystopian science fiction, Mandel’s masterful and genre defying writing found me eagerly picking up Station Eleven each evening and sorry to reach the end.

A few words from Emily:

I wanted to write something quite different from my previous three novels, which were generally categorized as literary noir. I was happy with the way they turned out, but thought it would be interesting to go in a different direction. I love film and theatre, and am interested in the idea of what it means to devote your life to your art, so decided to write about the life of an actor.

At the same time, I was interested in writing about the modern world, this extraordinary place in which we find ourselves: where water comes out of faucets, airplanes cross the sky, lighting a room is as simple as flicking a switch on the wall, and antibiotics are available.

One way of writing about something is to consider its absence, so I thought it would be interesting to set the book in a post-apocalyptic landscape, as a way of considering the modern world. I think of the book as a love letter to the modern world, written in the form of a requiem.

I wrote Station Eleven over the course of two and a half years and spent another three months editing it once I sold it to my publisher.  I’m currently working on a new novel but the topic’s a secret!  

To find out more visit www.emilymandel.com.

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