“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” - Mae West
by Emilyn Linden
In these stories, Mae West is wrong. These talented authors explore the idea that one life isn’t the only one we’ll get. Each of these books examines that idea from different fascinating and thrilling angles. From romance to horror to philosophical explorations of the nature of time, these books explore how we experience the universe and the passage of time.
Life after Life by Kate Atkinson - Ursula Todd, born in 1910 to an English banker and his wife, appears to have an infinite number of do-overs in life. The question is why, and whether she’ll accomplish what the universe seems to think she’s needed to do.
My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares - Daniel and Sophie have found each other many times over the centuries, but each lifetime their lives are cut short and their souls torn apart. They need to find out what force strives to keep them apart in order to live their lives out together.
Middlegame by Seanan McGuire - Twins Roger and Dodger are good at language and math respectively. They’re not exactly human, but not gods, either. Their creator wants to use their abilities to ascend to godhood with them.
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell - Mitchell jumps us back and forth through time telling the stories of such people as an American notary, a Belgian composer, to a West Coast reporter, and more. Mitchell then goes back and reveals how these many characters connect and how their stories cross and intertwine.
Reincarnation Blues by Michael Poore - Milo has only 5 tries left out of the 10,000 to answer all the questions and join the cosmic soul. The problem is that he doesn’t want to. His sole desire is to remain by the side of Suzie, the name he calls Death.
The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North - On his eleventh death, something different happens to Harry August. A young girl appears to send a message with him into his next life. We then get to go through life again with Harry to find out what he does next.
Emilyn Linden is a librarian in the FDL Public Library Information and Outreach Services department.