I hope everyone is doing well with the New Years. If I recall correctly, the holiday season is one of the more stressful times of the year.
In my case I am not particularly stressed out, I have just had a hand-around ambulatory cold for some time. It medicates reasonably well, but it doesn't seem to want to go away. It is not so bad that I can lay around motionless and complain that I am dying of the plague, but it is bad enough that a few of the items I wanted to get done during the holidays (anticipatory gardening items mostly) had to be put on hold.
So mostly I have been reading.
I finished Rob Krabbe's The Jake Collins Band and The Fading Silence (Kindle). I was disappointed but it is the type of apocalyptic novel that some people like.
I started and read Davide Longo's The Last Man Standing (translated from Italian), and it was very good. It is the only apocalypse-in-progress, and a slow-apocalypse at that, which features an elephant. Granted the elephant is a little more symbolic than key to the action, but it is an elephant none-the-less.
I have been reading Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl. It has made so many best of year lists, and is actually rather dystopian- dystopian as in real world dystopian. So it falls rather well within our 'final thoughts' theme.
I went to Barnes and Noble with my nine year old son: gift cards in hand. Along with a number of other items, he picked up an Amazon River adventure "What would you do?" type book, The Worst-Case Scenario Ultimate Adventure: Amazon, and survived. It throws in some survival types along with some rather gimmicky choices to make survival a little harder. I warned him that even though "Dan" was an idiot, they would try and trick him by having Dan offer good advice one time. Sure enough, even Dan can get it right once. He managed to make it through in about an hour, and then went through the wrong paths. Apparently a lot of people adventuring on the Amazon are killed by Jaguars as that comes up in three separate endings.
He enjoyed it. Apparently there is a series of them. Some take you to Mars, some are on the "Deadly Seas". Maybe they can add some dystopian real world ones that include mortgage brokers, and speed traps in small southern towns.
For myself, I found Yael A. Sternhell's Routes of War. A non-fiction book about the transport and movement in the Confederate South, as with most very close looks at the war it tends to show the war in a much fuzzier focus than your traditional political or military accounts. You have a lack of news except for seeing the troops marching through, you have the wealthy running away (often to Texas) with their mobile possessions (small items and slaves) being able to avoid the immediate difficulties of looters and vagabonds, but being impoverished as they sit in Texas slowly selling off their goods. The final dissolution of the Confederacy is not a pretty sight.
I will eventually post review of the fiction. I have a fair number of reviews completed, or nearly complete, but I didn't want to post them in the middle of the holidays.