Happy new year again everyone! I hope that 2023 will be brimming with good news and blessings. Out with the old and in with the new. There is so much to look forward to in the coming year, especially with the developments on the drive to control the pandemic. While uncertainties remain a part of our reality, brighter days are ahead. I hope that everyone will be happy and healthy this coming year.

Before finally closing another chapter, let me look back at the last month of 2022. The last third of the year was spent completing books from my active reading challenges. This was a productive endeavor as by the end of the year, I was able to complete three of my reading challenges. The last two weeks of the year were spent reading 2022 book releases, something that I am carrying over to 2023; I have just finished Barbara Kingsolver’s Demon Copperhead and I am currently reading Shehan Karunatilaka’s Booker Prize-winning novel, The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida. Book haul-wise, December was more conservative. I only managed to obtain three books, making it the first time in a while that I had read more books than those that I have obtained. This has been a goal of mine for years although overall, I bought more books in 2022 than I have read. Without further ado, here is the first set of books I was able to acquire in December. Happy reading!

Title: The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida
Author: Shehan Karunatilaka
Publisher: Norton Books
Publishing Date: 2022
No. of Pages: 388

Synopsis: Colombo, 1990. Maala Almeida – war photographer, gambler, and closet queen – has woken up dead in what seems like a celestial visa office. His dismembered body is sinking in the serene Beira Lake and he has no idea who killed him. In a country where scores are settled by death squads, suicide bombers, and hired goons, the list of suspects is depressingly long, as the ghouls and ghosts with grudges who cluster round can attest. But even in the afterlife, time is running out for Maali. He has seven moons to contact the man and woman he loves most and lead them to the photos that will rock Sri Lanka. A rip-soaring state-of-the-nation epic from one of Sri Lanka’s foremost authors, The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida is a “thrilling read” (Rebecca Jones, BBC) that offers equal parts mordant wit and disturbing, profound truths.

Title: Thrust
Author: Lidia Yuknavitch
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Publishing Date: 2022
No. of Pages: 334

Synopsis: As rising waters – and an encroaching police state – endanger her life and family, a girl travels through water and time to rescue vulnerable figures from the margins of history.

A visionary writer with an unmatched gift for capturing stories of people on the margins, Lidia Yuknavitch now offers an imaginative masterpiece: the story of Laisve, a motherless girl from the late twenty-first century who is learning to harness the power of meaningful objects to carry her through time. Under the shadow of a giant, never-finished national monument, Laisve discovers a talisman that will allow her to connect with a series of characters from the past two centuries – innocents and criminals, workers and subversives – finding her way to the present day and then, finally, to the early days of her imperfect country, to forge a connection that might save their lives, and their fractured dream of freedom.

Audacious in scope, abounding in vivid characters – and marked by Yuknavitch’s signature blend of the sensual and the transcendent – Thrust is a parable of body, spirit, and survival from one of our bravest and most admired storytellers.

Title: Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow
Author: Gabrielle Zevin
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Publishing Date: 2022
No. of Pages: 397

Synopsis: In this exhilarating novel two friends – often in love but never lovers – come together as creative partners in the world of video game design, where success brings them fame, joy, tragedy, duplicity, and, ultimately, a kind of immortality.

On a bitter cold day, in the December of his junior year at Harvard, Sam Masur exits a subway car and sees, aid the hordes of people waiting on the platform, Sadie Green. He calls her name. For a moment, she pretends she hasn’t heard him, but then she turns, and a game begins: a legendary collaboration that will launch them to stardom. Not even twenty-five years old, Sam and Sadie are brilliant, successful, and rich, but these qualities won’t protect them from their own creative ambitions or the betrayals of their hearts.

Gabrielle Zevin’s Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow is a dazzling and intricately imagined novel that examines the multifarious nature of identity, disability, failure, the redemptive possibilities in play, and, above all, our need to connect: to be loved and to love. Yes, it is a love story, but it is not one you have read before.