Saturday, May 14, 2016

Too Soon? Check out the latest in 90s Nostalgia

How does this picture make you feel?

Alice & Oliver
by Charles Bock

This book is so chock full of 90s references reading it was like getting stomped into a puddle of Crystal Pepsi by a pair of Doc Martens in a mosh pit. In sort of the same way, it's an intensely raw and intimate portrayal of a young family's struggle with Leukemia. Drawn from Charles Bock's own experiences, the titular Alice is diagnosed with Leukemia shortly after giving birth to her daughter, Doe. The novel takes the reader deep inside Alice and Oliver's lives as they try to hold it together while navigating a healthcare nightmare and a terrible illness. In some ways, the often brutal, and fairly graphic, depictions of Alice's treatment and deteriorating physical condition, and the toll the disease takes on their relationship, reminds me of reading A Little Life--it can be a tough read but the personal connection to Bock's characters makes it worthwhile. It's an emotional roller coaster loaded with with 90s high technology and New York life.

Every Anxious Wave
by Mo Daviau

Karl Bender is an aging 90s rocker with a bar in Chicago and a few loyal barflys to keep him company. He also has a homemade time machine in his bedroom closet. He sends paying music lovers back in time to catch whatever legendary performances they always wished they could have seen. REM in Athens in before they were huge? Sure! Missed that one Sebadoh show? No problem. Until one day he accidentally sends Wayne, the guy who built his time machine, back to 980 instead of 1980 where he gets stuck and can't return. Karl finds an astrophysicist at the University to help him get Wayne back, and accidentally falls in love. This book is just downright fun. It's a touching, quirky-cute, time-traveling apocalyptic weird science romance with so much 90s music nostalgia you'll feel like you're backstage at a Pavement show.

by Rainbow Rowell

If you love Rainbow Rowell, you'll probably love this book. If you were a teenager in the 90s and you read YA, you'll probably really love this book. It's romantic YA for adults who get nostalgic over how their teenage romances played out over long and twisted phone cords, and it's really funny. Like Every Anxious Wave, this is also a time-traveling romance, or perhaps it's more of an inter-dimensional romance.
TV writer Georgie is having trouble in her marriage. She cancels on yet another trip to visit her husband's folks over the holidays. Fed up, he packs up the kids and goes anyway. She stumbles on a way to communicate with her husband's past self using the rotary phone in her childhood bedroom. What better vehicle than a landline to transport us to our pre-iPhone teenage selves?

I hear Clearly Canadian is coming back, you guys. 

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