If I've learned one thing during the course of the Book Rat Project [the sustained experiment in which a book critic [me] attempts to act as a human algorithm for a willing subject [my Phoenix colleague Will Delman]), it's that a good book is really hard to find. I know that sounds trite and everything, but, like, I'd like to think that if someone (Will) only needed to read books that were both well-received and hand-picked by someone else (me) that they'd all be a sure bet.
After last week's coup, in which our subject
raved about the novel I assigned (Heidi Julavits's The Vanishers, one of
my favorite books in recent memory), I erred once again. Because I'd been
seeing its Etsy-ish cover everywhere and heard generally good things, I decided
to assign Birds of a Lesser Paradise by Megan Bergman.