Book Buzz: Ch-Ch-Changes

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Book Buzz: Ch-Ch-Changes

by Lucie Smoker

Autumn brings crisp, cool stories about changing worlds, transforming hearts and bettering ourselves. The one thing we can count on in life is change.

Historical Fiction: All the Light We Cannot See
by Anthony Doerr

In a walled city on the northern coast of occupied France, leaflets rain down from the sky urging, “Depart immediately for open country.” Allied bombers are approaching, but 16-year-old Marie-Laure isn’t going anywhere. Fully blind, she’s waiting on the sixth floor of a narrow house for her uncle who went out the previous night and never returned. Marie-Laure runs her fingers along her wooden model of the town, caressing its turrets and spires as she hears the bombers approaching. She pulls open a hidden compartment and pulls out a diamond.

Five streets to the north in the Nazi-occupied Hotel of Bees, 18-year-old Werner awakes to the frenzy of anti-air battery coming into action and his own unit’s evacuation into the cellar. He brought his bedroll and pack but forgot his water.

Then the lights go out. The parallel stories of Marie-Laure and Werner reach out with the urgency of a wartime radio warning.

“What mazes there are in this world. The branches of trees, the filigree of roots, the matrix of crystals… None more complicated than the human brain, Etienne would say, what may be the most complex object in existence; one wet kilogram within which spin universes.”

Young Adult: I’ll Give You the Sun
by Jandy Nelson

Once inseparable twins, Noah and Jude turn away from each other around the time their mother dies. Fully estranged, they share this breathtaking story from alternating viewpoints, plus alternating time periods—with one twin telling the “before,” the next “after” the events that wedged them apart. While their anger, grief and love stories fill this book, the central question remains their relationship: will they find a way back to each other?

Jandy Nelson’s spectacular prose lodges itself deep under your rib cage. If you have ever broken a relationship, this book instigates healing. A truly rare YA experience.

From Oklahoma’s Mongrel Empire Press: The Wal-Mart Republic
by Quarysh Ali Lansana and Christopher H. Stewart

Poetry captures the essence of change and reduces it to instinct. These poems revolve around the idea that ‘shopping center is community center,’ and they do not pull punches on the issues of race, poverty and pain. This book pairs a poet from Enid with one from Texas who both assert that their births, their ways of seeing, and some of their adversity are rooted in “the Walmart Republic.” Yet their poetry also celebrates sensitive, gentler thoughts and remembrances.

From “Shipwreck”:

“There was a city here, a city that cast pig iron,
built railroads, meat and refrigerators, shipped
jazz and trumpets, and the embryo of rock and roll
from the silent smile of a blues man’s lips.”


Short Biography: Of Mice and Me
by Mishka Shubaly

At 37, Mishka has a great career, a beautiful girlfriend and a nice home, but something is missing. He doesn’t realize it, however. Not until he finds a tiny, baby mouse and unexpectedly decides to care for it. This book cracked me up and made me cry. It touched on so many of the discords we share in modern life.

“Staying up stone sober to nurse an infant mouse was the longest, strangest night yet. I was feeding the baby mouse as the sun came up, and it turned the whole room from blacks and grays to pinks and oranges while the mouse’s tiny mouth gaped open, little flecks of goat’s milk speckling his delicate whiskers. As I stared at him, reality seemed to fold in on itself.”

Lucie Smoker is an Oklahoma suspense author and freelance writer. Find more of her work at

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