Oh, July… How I love this month. Summer is at its peak; the days are long and the nights warm. July is when time starts to slow down and we’re more willing to read outside. Be it the beach, at a park or by the window, I’m always hungrier for good books in summer.
This July filled my imagination with two books that are polar opposites. On the one hand, there was noir crime novel The Axeman’s Jazz; on the other, the deeply disturbing wake up call The Uninhabitable Earth. Both were thrilling – for different reasons – and good options for a summer read.
The Axeman’s Jazz (2015)
Mystery, music, New Orleans and drama unravel in Ray Celestin’s prose. Get ready for a rollercoaster ride following the footsteps of a discredited detective. I was expecting the voice of a murderer and instead, I found driven women, betrayed ex-policemen and a sweet, secret love story.
I absolutely adored this book. It is the ideal addition to your summer list. It’s easy to read but juicy enough to make you want to keep reading. The familiarity of the case hooks you almost immediately and it has a healthy dose of plot twists to make you gasp with surprise.
While the narrative surrounds the series of horrific murders, committed by the mysterious figure of the Axeman, the novel is about so much more. The different investigations help Celestin move his characters along, but the real juice lays in the character’s deeply personal stories.
If you pick a copy, make sure you’ve got a beach nearby. Read while sipping a cocktail for the full effect.
The Uninhabitable Earth (2019)
The first time I came across this book was while window-shopping with my best friend. She mentioned she wanted to read it, and when she did how much her perspective of the world had changed. I was so impressed by her reaction that I had to give it a go. OK. I’m sold. David Wallace-Wells is right, it’s so, so, so much worse than we thought.
The Uninhabitable Earth is the contemporary response to Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth”. Wallace-Wells gives a clear, accessible and terrifying account of the consequences of our actions as a species. He’s definitely gotten me to research more and I’m now an avid reducer, reuser, recycler and rebel (read here how you can help).
The Uninhabitable Earth is important. Not just because it details how much we’ve changed the planet already, but also because it gives us a scientific, socio-economic and cultural view of what could happen next. Genuinely, you’re doing yourself an injustice by not reading it. The time IS now, and we have to change.
Wallace-Wells’ journalistic urgency is effective and will wake you up from your slumber. Although it can feel fatalistic at times, it’s lengthy bibliography will only convince you of the extent of research and work behind the essay.