Readers’ Corner – Sept. 2022

Labor Day, work or working–an interesting job, a terrible job, an awful boss ~

By Bonnie McCune & Kathleen Duhamel ~

Convenience Store Woman, by Sayaka Murata, translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori, tells the familiar scenario of a middle-aged woman forced by background, necessity, and ultimately choice to earn a living in a Japanese convenience store. Quite possibly autistic (we never know for sure), the routines and the sense of service stand her in good stead as she excels in the boring drudgery and efficient hard labor. What really makes this book outstanding? Not whether we’d be happy in the job, but if a sympathetic character is. We’re forced to examine our own definition of success in this modern tale of a life well lived.

Two reasons beguiled me in The Long Haul, by Finn Murphy. First, I love organizing things, projects to create order out of chaos, which is ultimately what long-distance household moving is. How do you transport breakables in the same conveyance as heavy furniture? Second, I wanted to see if these drivers are as independent and free-wheeling as they appear (yes, they are). I found while I might be tempted by the lifestyle, I could bear neither the lack of showers nor the priority of work over personal comfort. My only possible reaction was to cheer this road warrior onward in his quest for freedom.

The Devil Wears Prada, Lauren Weisberger. Recent college graduate Andrea Sachs has landed a job that “a million girls would die for.” Although she has no interest in clothing trends, she goes to work as personal assistant to Miranda Priestly, respected fashion guru and editor-in-chief of a successful New York magazine. Miranda is also arguably one of the worst, most despicable bosses in contemporary literature—controlling, demanding, and needlessly cruel. What began as a dream job soon becomes Andrea’s worst nightmare. On call 24/7, finds herself spiraling downward as her unrelenting schedule threatens all her relationships. This witty and insightful novel was adapted into a hit movie and is the subject of an upcoming Broadway musical.

Author Kathleen Duhamel writes humorous contemporary romance featuring “seasoned” characters. Her newest is Fed Up. Author Bonne McCune’s latest is Never Retreat, a suspenseful romance in Colorado’s wilderness.

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