Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History by Kurt Andersen

35171984Title: Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History

Author: Kurt Andersen

Pub Date: 2017

My Rating: ★★★☆☆

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “The single most important explanation, and the fullest explanation, of how Donald Trump became president of the United States . . . nothing less than the most important book that I have read this year.”—Lawrence O’Donnell

How did we get here?

In this sweeping, eloquent history of America, Kurt Andersen shows that what’s happening in our country today—this post-factual, “fake news” moment we’re all living through—is not something new, but rather the ultimate expression of our national character. America was founded by wishful dreamers, magical thinkers, and true believers, by hucksters and their suckers. Fantasy is deeply embedded in our DNA.

Over the course of five centuries—from the Salem witch trials to Scientology to the Satanic Panic of the 1980s, from P. T. Barnum to Hollywood and the anything-goes, wild-and-crazy sixties, from conspiracy theories to our fetish for guns and obsession with extraterrestrials—our love of the fantastic has made America exceptional in a way that we’ve never fully acknowledged. From the start, our ultra-individualism was attached to epic dreams and epic fantasies—every citizen was free to believe absolutely anything, or to pretend to be absolutely anybody. With the gleeful erudition and tell-it-like-it-is ferocity of a Christopher Hitchens, Andersen explores whether the great American experiment in liberty has gone off the rails.

Fantasyland could not appear at a more perfect moment. If you want to understand Donald Trump and the culture of twenty-first-century America, if you want to know how the lines between reality and illusion have become dangerously blurred, you must read this book.

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The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne

33630235Title: The Heart’s Invisible Furies

Author: John Boyne

Pub Date:  August 2017

My Rating: ★★★★★

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

Cyril Avery is not a real Avery or at least that’s what his adoptive parents tell him. And he never will be. But if he isn’t a real Avery, then who is he? 

Born out of wedlock to a teenage girl cast out from her rural Irish community and adopted by a well-to-do if eccentric Dublin couple via the intervention of a hunchbacked Redemptorist nun, Cyril is adrift in the world, anchored only tenuously by his heartfelt friendship with the infinitely more glamourous and dangerous Julian Woodbead. 

At the mercy of fortune and coincidence, he will spend a lifetime coming to know himself and where he came from – and over his three score years and ten, will struggle to discover an identity, a home, a country and much more. 

In this, Boyne’s most transcendent work to date, we are shown the story of Ireland from the 1940s to today through the eyes of one ordinary man. The Heart’s Invisible Furies is a novel to make you laugh and cry while reminding us all of the redemptive power of the human spirit.

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Faery Tale: One Woman’s Search for Enchantment in a Modern World by Signe Pike

9588705Title: Faery Tale: One Woman’s Search for Enchantment in a Modern World

Author: Signe Pike

Pub Date: 2010

My Rating: ★★★☆☆

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

A skeptic’s search for magic, one faery at a time.

In search of something to believe in again, Signe Pike left behind a career in Manhattan to undertake a magical journey-literally. In a sweeping tour through England, Ireland, Scotland, and beyond, she takes readers to dark glens and abandoned forests, ancient sacred sites, and local pubs, seeking those who might still believe in the mysterious beings we’ve relegated to the dusty corners of our childhood imaginations: faeries. But as Signe attempts to connect with the spirit world, she’ll come to view herself and the world around her in a profoundly new way.

Engaging and full of heart, “Faery Tale” is more than a memoir-it’s the story of rekindling that spark of belief that makes even the most skeptical among us feel like a kid again.

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The Wonder by Emma Donoghue

Title: The Wonder

Author: Emma Donoghue

Pub Date: September 20th, 2016

My Rating: ★★★★☆

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In the latest masterpiece by Emma Donoghue, bestselling author of Room, an English nurse brought to a small Irish village to observe what appears to be a miracle-a girl said to have survived without food for months-soon finds herself fighting to save the child’s life.

Tourists flock to the cabin of eleven-year-old Anna O’Donnell, who believes herself to be living off manna from heaven, and a journalist is sent to cover the sensation. Lib Wright, a veteran of Florence Nightingale’s Crimean campaign, is hired to keep watch over the girl.

Written with all the propulsive tension that made Room a huge bestseller, THE WONDER works beautifully on many levels–a tale of two strangers who transform each other’s lives, a powerful psychological thriller, and a story of love pitted against evil.

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The Summer That Melted Everything by Tiffany McDaniel

the summer that melted everythingTitle: The Summer That Melted Everything

Author: Tiffany McDaniel

Pub Date: July 26, 2016

Honors: 

My Rating: ★★★★★

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The heat come with the devil. It was the summer of 1984, and while the devil had been invited, the heat was not. It should’ve been expected, though. Heat is, after all, the devil’s name, and when’s the last time you left home without yours?

Those opening lines should be enough reason for you to start reading this book, but if you still not sure, let me tell you how fantastic this book is.

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