I’ve been very slack with my reading, and the image above should give you a hint why. I’m from New Zealand, but I live in Las Vegas, Nevada. Two nights ago, our city was rocked by tragedy. As well as fielding a lot of messages from concerned loved ones around the world, my husband and I have been trying to do what we can. We are in shock, and beyond saddened for the victims and their loved ones.

With that said, it’s also important for me to say how proud I am of Las Vegas and its surrounding cities. In the face of unspeakable tragedy, it has shown itself to be more than a party town and a tourist destination – the people pulled together, put their politics aside and donated blood, food, water, money, time, accommodation, rides, hugs, you name it. I’ve had my issues with this town and all it represents since I moved here nine years ago, but right now, I’m proud to consider myself a Vegas Local.

Now … on to the goodies. I’m sharing two Literary Fiction novels I’ve read in the last few months.

Eligible: A Modern Retelling of Pride And Prejudice by Curtis Sittenfeld

Eligible by Curtis SittenfeldBuy this book on Amazon or Barnes & Noble
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Well before his arrival in Cincinnati, everyone knew that Chip Bingley was looking for a wife. Two years earlier, Chip – graduate of Dartmouth College and Harvard Medical School, scion of the Pennsylvania Bingleys, who in the twentieth century had made their fortune in plumbing fixtures – had, ostensibly, with some reluctance, appeared on the juggernaut realty-television show Eligible. Over the course of eight weeks in the fall of 2011, twenty-five single women had lived together in a mansion in Rancho Cucamonga, California, and vied for Chip’s heart: accompanying him on dates to play blackjack in Las Vegas and taste wine and vineyards in Napa Valley, fighting with and besmirching one another in and out of his presence. At the end of each episode, every woman received either a kiss on the lips from him, which meant she would continue to compete, or a kiss on the cheek, which meant she had to return home immediately. In the final episode, with only two women remaining – Kara, a wide-eyed blond-ringleted twenty-three-year-old former college cheerleader turned second-grade teacher from Jackson, Mississippi, and Marcy, a duplicitous yet alluring brunette twenty-eight-year-old dental hygienist from Morristown, New Jersey – Chip wept profusely and declined to propose marriage to either. They both were extraordinary, he declared, stunning and intelligent and sophisticated, but toward neither did he feel what he termed “a soul connection.” In compliance with FCC regulations, Marcy’s subsequent tirade consisted primarily of bleeped-out words that nevertheless did little to conceal her rage.

(Phew! That’s a long one! It is a good read though – a must-have for fans of Austen and Austen fan fiction)

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

Exit West by Mohsin HamidPurchase on Amazon or Barnes & Noble
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In a city swollen by refugees but still mostly at peace, or at least not yet openly at war, a young man met a young woman in a classroom and did not speak to her. For many days. His name was Saeed and her name was Nadia and he had a beard, not a full beard, more a studiously maintained stubble, and she was clad from the tips of her toes to the bottom of her jugular notch in a flowing black robe. Back then people continued to enjoy the luxury of wearing more or less what they wanted to wear, clothing and hair wise, within certain bounds of course, and so these choices meant something.

(I thoroughly enjoyed this one! Just so you know)

That’s it for this week! I’m going to do my best to get my reading done and get those half-written reviews out there! In the meantime, you can find out more about First Chapter First Paragraph Intro Tuesday and locate other participants right here.