Every so often, a book comes along that makes me feel stupid. Not stupid because the content is over my head (although that happens, too), but stupid because while reading the closing chapters in a public location I must fight back the tears and swallow the sob in my throat while a pitying stranger seated nearby asks, "Are you okay?" Karen Thompson Walker's The Age of Miracles (Random House) is just such a book. As adult Julia narrates while looking back at her sixth-grade self, Walker constructs a tale that straddles the global and the local. The book opens on the Saturday morning that Julia and her two-parent California family — and the rest of the world — learn that the earth is slowing. The 24-hour day soon becomes 26. These lengthening periods of light and dark affect all aspects of life, from agriculture to sports. Most interestingly, the change causes a schism between those who continue to use a 24-hour clock and the "real-timers" who choose to follow the rhythms of the sun. Described as both "coming of age" and "post apocalyptic," the book is a fast yet satisfying summer read.
Thu., July 26, 7:30 p.m., 2012