Linda Sullivan gives us ‘real talk’ and fantasy

Susan EspirituOur Town Arts

Our Book Whisperer, Linda Sullivan, recommends both fiction and fantasy for this week’s reads.

True Biz, written by Sara Novic, is our first recommendation from Linda, thanks to her daughter Grace.

“True biz” is an American Sign Language (A.S.L.) expression that means “seriously” or “real talk,” and Linda describes this book as a coming-of-age literary fiction.

Linda says, “Admittedly, I know very little about deaf culture and history, but after Grace, my daughter, a speech pathology/audiology major, pushed True Biz into my hands, I learned about some of the struggles the deaf community face. One book club friend has already signed up for an A.S.L. course. Yes, that’s how impactful the read is. Read this book! Please.”

The main character, Charlie, is a deaf teen who transfers from her local public high school to a residential deaf school for her junior year. With malfunctioning cochlear implants, and not knowing sign language, Charlie is lost in a lot of ways. The reader experiences the highs and lows of the students as well as those of the head of the River Valley School for the Deaf.

Linda admits she had no idea of the issues involved and also recommends reading the New York Times OpEd written by the author in 2021 titled, Don’t Fear a Deafer Planet.

True Biz author, Sara Nović, is an American writer, translator and creative writing professor who is also a deaf rights’ activist. She has written about the challenges she has faced as a deaf novelist. True Biz is her second novel.

Linda received a second recommendation from Grace in The Fourth Wing, a fantasy plus romance genre and the first novel in the Empyrean series.

Linda recommends it because, “It is one of those books you can’t stop thinking about even after you’ve turned the last page. Also, the characters feel like friends and people you know in your own life.”

A peek into the plot: All the kids go to war college. The main character who is a female, Violet, and was trained to be a scribe when her mom makes her train as a dragon rider at war college. Her love interest calls her Violence. His name is Xaden. You have to read the novel to find out what happens between them!

Linda tells us why others should read Fourth Wing: “Fantasy- family drama-romance-war-scholarly/academic-It is considered a beginner fantasy book, so the reader eases into the fantasy genre.”

Rebecca Yarros is a New York Times bestselling author of over 20 novels and described as a hopeless romantic with a coffee addiction. That makes me relate to her already!

Remember: Knox County Online Library to search for Linda’s recommendations each week.

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