Shelf Control #290: A Song For A New Day by Sarah Pinsker

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Welcome to Shelf Control — an original feature created and hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies.

Shelf Control is a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up! For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out my introductory post, here.

Want to join in? Shelf Control posts go up every Wednesday. See the guidelines at the bottom of the post, and jump on board!

Title: A Song For a New Day
Author: Sarah Pinsker
Published: 2019
Length: 384 pages

What it’s about (synopsis via Goodreads):

In this captivating science fiction novel from an award-winning author, public gatherings are illegal making concerts impossible, except for those willing to break the law for the love of music, and for one chance at human connection.

In the Before, when the government didn’t prohibit large public gatherings, Luce Cannon was on top of the world. One of her songs had just taken off and she was on her way to becoming a star. Now, in the After, terror attacks and deadly viruses have led the government to ban concerts, and Luce’s connection to the world—her music, her purpose—is closed off forever. She does what she has to do: she performs in illegal concerts to a small but passionate community, always evading the law.

Rosemary Laws barely remembers the Before times. She spends her days in Hoodspace, helping customers order all of their goods online for drone delivery—no physical contact with humans needed. By lucky chance, she finds a new job and a new calling: discover amazing musicians and bring their concerts to everyone via virtual reality. The only catch is that she’ll have to do something she’s never done before and go out in public. Find the illegal concerts and bring musicians into the limelight they deserve. But when she sees how the world could actually be, that won’t be enough.

How and when I got it:

I bought the Kindle edition over a year ago.

Why I want to read it:

I first heard about this book when it won the 2019 Nebula Award for best novel, and must have grabbed a copy when there was a price break at some point after that. At the time of its release and award spree, I thought it sounded like a fascinating dystopian read, but not necessarily something that felt connected to real life.

Whoo boy. Fast forward to our ongoing pandemic, and this book feels practically prescient! Not leaving the house, not being out in public, bans on gatherings, no concerts? Check, check, check, and check!

Granted, the circumstances in the book are different… but not all that different, if deadly viruses are part of what triggers this sort of shutdown.

I’m still curious about this book and would like to read it, but I’ve also pretty consistently shied away from books that feel too closely connected to pandemics, so my reader instincts on this one are very mixed. On the one hand, I do think it sounds great! But on the other hand, now might not be the best time.

What do you think? Would you read this book?

Please share your thoughts!


Want to participate in Shelf Control? Here’s how:

  • Write a blog post about a book that you own that you haven’t read yet.
  • Add your link in the comments or link back from your own post, so I can add you to the participant list.
  • Check out other posts, and…

Have fun!

2 thoughts on “Shelf Control #290: A Song For A New Day by Sarah Pinsker

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