This week I have… sadly not finished any books. Work and classwork has preoccupied me for the time being. So instead of rushing through a short story to post about, I’ll just give you a brief overview of the two books I’m reading at present. The first is Welcome To Night Vale. If you haven’t listened to the podcast, I highly recommend you do. If you have, well, then you know what you’re in for. The book is very similar. Night Vale is a small desert town where all the conspiracy theories you’ve ever heard are actually true. It is here that the lives of two women, with two mysteries, will converge. Nineteen-year-old Night Vale pawn shop owner Jackie Fierro is given a paper marked ‘KING CITY’ by a mysterious man in a tan jacket. She can’t seem to get the paper to leave her hand, and no one who meets this man can remember anything about him. Jackie is determined to uncover the mystery of King City before she herself unravels. Diane Crayton’s son, Josh, is moody and also a shape shifter. And lately Diane’s started to see her son’s father everywhere she goes, looking the same as the day he left years earlier. Josh, looking different every time Diane sees him, shows a stronger and stronger interest in his estranged father, leading to a disaster Diane can see coming, even as she is helpless to prevent it. Diane’s search to reconnect with her son and Jackie’s search for her former routine life collide as they find themselves coming back to two words: ‘KING CITY’. It is King City that holds the key to both of their mysteries, and their futures …if they can ever find it.
So there’s that book. On the completely opposite side of the book realm, I’m also reading is Journalism Worth Dying For by Anna Politkovskaya. Anna Politkovskaya won international fame for her courageous reporting. Is Journalism Worth Dying For? is a long-awaited collection of her final writing. Beginning with a brief introduction by the author about her pariah status, the book contains essays that characterize the self-effacing Politkovskaya more fully than she allowed in her other books. From deeply personal statements about the nature of journalism, to horrendous reports from Chechnya, to sensitive pieces of memoir, to, finally, the first translation of the series of investigative reports that Politkovskaya was working on at the time of her murder—pieces many believe led to her assassination. Elsewhere, there are illuminating accounts of encounters with leaders including Lionel Jospin, Tony Blair, George W. Bush, and such exiled figures as Boris Berezovsky, Akhmed Zakaev, Vladimir Bukovsky. Additional sections collect Politkovskaya’s non-political writing, revealing her delightful wit, deep humanity, and willingness to engage with the unfamiliar, as well as her deep regrets about the fate of Russia.