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How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky: A Novel
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How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky: A Novel

3.36 of 5 stars 3.36  ·  rating details  ·  1,444 ratings  ·  338 reviews
Beyond the skyline of Toledo stands the Toledo Institute of Astronomy, the nation's premier center of astronomical discovery and a beacon of scientific learning for astronomers far and wide. One of these is George Dermont, a dreamer and a man of deep faith, who's trying to prove the scientific existence of a Gateway to God, and speaks to ancient gods and believes they spea ...more
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Published July 1st 2014 by Macmillan Audio
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Rachel Watkins
Here she goes again. Lydia Netzer has written another stellar, sweeping love story that isn't like any you've ever read. This book is a mystery; it's a magical conglomeration of astronomy & astrology, super colliders and reading tea leaves. HOW TO TELL TOLEDO FROM THE NIGHT SKY is about the most bizarre arranged marriage you've ever heard of along with a tragic unrequited love story. Like her characters Irene and George, Lydia Netzer is a dreamer. I'm so very thankful.
Diane S.
3.5 Do you believe in the concept of soul mates? That they can be engineered? Can two people be fated to meet? George and Irene are delightful characters, their are many amusing passages and throw in a few other outlandish characters and a strange backstory and you have the making of a entertaining read. Along with some astronomy, gods and goddesses and a video game, with some astrology and aware dreaming thrown in for good measzure. Netzer sure has a great imagination, creates some wonderfully ...more
Rebecca Foster
(3.5) The peculiar title is what first interested me, but the synopsis sounded even better. George and Irene, both 29, work at the Toledo Institute of Astronomy, where George looks to the stars for proof of the existence of God, and Irene makes black holes. It seems they are fated to be together – or is it all their mothers’ manipulation? Call it a cross between The Big Bang Theory and John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, blending science and romance into a quirky love story. The visions and luc ...more
Nancy McFarlane
A quirky, geeky, wonderful feel good love story, unlike anything you have ever read. It has poetry, black holes, dreams, astronomy, super- colliders, psychics, destiny, unrequited love and the strangest pre-arranged marriage you will ever see. It goes from weird to serious; from funny to sad but in the end is an honest and emotional look at the nature of true love.
Barbara White
Some dude once told me he would read anything written by Stephen King—even a shopping list. That’s the way I feel about Lydia Netzer. In HOW TO TELL TOLEDO FROM THE NIGHT SKY, her writing is glorious, her characters uniquely memorable. In one laugh-out-loud scene, I actually felt as if I were reading a modern day Dickens.

When the novel began, I had mixed feeling about Irene. I wasn’t sure I liked her, but she intrigued me. By the end, I was crying on her behalf, chewing my nails for her safety,
Ron Charles
Two years ago, Lydia Netzer’s career blasted off with a first novel called “Shine Shine Shine” that stretched from housewives in Virginia to robots on the moon. The story spliced together marriage, motherhood and space travel to breed a hybrid of romantic comedy and scientific reverie.

With her second novel, “How to Tell Toledo From the Night Sky,” Netzer remixes those ingredients and aims for the stars once again. St. Martin’s is printing 100,000 copies. And why not? An author’s reach should exc
At the intersection of love and science, gods and mathematics, fortune tellers and proton colliders lives this utterly charming and quirky book.

George and Irene are both scientists at the University of Toledo, and when they meet it's love at first sight. Or is it? What George and Irene don't know is that 28 years ago their mothers, childhood best friends, engineered their babies lives so that they would be twin souls- separated in childhood but destined to love each other whenever they meet agai
Priscille Sibley
How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky is Netzer's brilliant second novel. Like her first quirky book, Shine Shine Shine, Toledo will take the reader into a world that is just a little off from reality, with characters driven by real life passions and short comings. It is at times heartbreakingly sad and laugh out loud funny. Toledo will make the reader consider the absurd right along with the profound. This is the talent that Lydia Netzer displays in her world of science and art. It is her abili ...more
Danielle Prielipp
Brilliant! Nerd-romance at its finest...and I was reading the "preliminary passes" version because I just couldn't wait for the final edits.
Alison Law
I love Lydia’s books because they offer something for everyone. If you want to get your nerd on, you can practice your lucid dreaming with Bernice, get lost in one of Belion’s gamer fantasies or manufacture black holes with Irene. Literary fiction fans will appreciate the many allusions to classical literature and the gods who appear to George in Toledo. Read more in my blog post: Nerd Fiction for Everyone:
Netzer's style is out of the box for me. Her version of 'magical realism' merging with eccentricity isn't quite to my tastes or standard. However, her premise is unique and her narratives always reach a level of normalcy towards the end which I find somewhat redeeming. Shine, Shine, Shine wasn't a show stopper for me, I'm sure many will disagree. I applaud her renegade style and her determination to see her vision through.

I am a science buff, this addition to the narrative was welcomed. Irene an
Lydia Netzer has once again produced a beautiful, intricate story about unusual people that is unlike anything else I have ever read. I didn't think it was possible for me to like a book about love and science and relationships and hallucinations any more than I liked Shine Shine Shine, but I believe I do in fact like How to Tell Toldeo from the Night Sky even better. it.
I LOVED this book. It was weird, but in a good way. It kept my interest, touched my heart and gave my brain a workout.
Taryn Pierson
Irene and George were literally born for each other. Their mothers, Bernice and Sally, best friends since childhood, concocted a cockamamie plan to have babies at the same time and raise them in parallel ways that would make them seem fated once they finally met as adults. Wham—their children would fall in love with each other, Bernice and Sally could live out their twilight years as in-laws, and their children would be deliriously happy and fulfilled by their bizarrely arranged marriage.

Of cou
Emily Gatlin
I loved Lydia Netzer's debut novel, Shine, Shine, Shine and she didn't disappoint me one bit with her second book. The thing about Netzer is that her writing is funny AND smart, so you actually feel the neurons in your brain rapid firing with every word. She's completely outside the box, and it's fresh, fun, and exciting. How to Tell Toledo From the Night Sky is a genuinely moving love story at its core, with the added bonus of humor that is sweet and almost soul touching. George and Irene's mot ...more
Suzze Tiernan
A romance for nerds, involving black holes and astrology, super-colliders and binary code. This booked seemed to go from quirky to deeply emotional in a heartbeat. Not for everyone, but a great read nonetheless.
Someone else wrote this in her review, and it was dead-on: "Within the first few chapters, I was drawn into this story - the language and style of writing, the characters, the plot. I thought, "This resonates; I am really going to love this.""

Of course, the follow-up to this is but....

Something miserably failed for me. I'm not sure if it was the wide variety of characters - which I did like individually. Collectively, they were a little too out there to be believed (except Belion - that dude ro
Rhiannon Johnson
I didn't get around to reading Netzer's debut, Shine Shine Shine, despite several rave reviews from some of my most trusted book bloggers. I was not going to miss out this time around. (I read her novella, Everybody's Baby, and really liked it.) How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky is like nothing I've read before. Netzer is able to provide two characters with opposite thoughts when they look skyward and although the characters represent science versus God, she doesn't distance the reader with ...more
George Dermont knows who he’s looking for, but just can’t find her. She needs to be an astronomer with brown hair who also happens to be a dreamer. When he collides with Irene, a perfect match for his description, the pair hits it off without realizing the work that went into their meeting. Friends since childhood, their mothers raised them to be soulmates and set them on a path toward finding one other, unsure of the course that would follow.

Lydia Netzer’s writes like no one else. How to Tell T
I woke up early(ish) this morning to continue reading How to Tell Toledo From the Night Sky by Lydia Netzer (it comes out in July). I *tried* to read it slowly. I really did. But I failed miserably and continued reading it until I finished. It was a joy to read and I loved how smart and funny and scientific and heartbreaking and poignant and sweet and hopeful it is. I am sad to be done with it - perhaps I will need to work on dreaming and being aware. I will be reading it again in June to get re ...more
Tracy Reasner
"Who can truly despair of love?" Astronomy meets astrology with a wee bit of erotica mixed in - I am truly loving this feel-good romantic story of George & Irene - "twin souls" who were scientifically made for each other by their mothers. Just the right read to put you in the mood for Valentine's Day and make you believe, yes, there is indeed a lid for every pot!
While I liked the idea of this book, and the story was pretty good, there were too many elements that were like trudging through wet cement to read. Floating faeries and demi gods, lucid dreams, crystal balls and black holes. It just got to be too much. I should create a category for books I wished I had abandoned. This would be a good candidate.
Lisa DellAquila
I'll start with a bit of honesty-- I preferred Lydia Netzer's first novel, Shine Shine Shine, to her second, How To Tell Toldeo From the Night Sky. I am a huge fan of Shine Shine Shine, and Toledo just seemed a bit messier, wackier, and not quite as tight. But that's OK. I still thoroughly enjoyed this book, with its mediation on what makes a soulmate. Even the wackiness, though sometime pointless, is charming. There is just something about Netzer's sensibility that is just a bit bonkers, and I ...more
I've just been striking out on all the literary-fiction-with-astrophysics books. This book had everything I should have loved, and had these tantalizing fragments of greatness that never lasted for more than a few sentences.

It wasn't enough of anything. It tried to incorporate far too many ideas- magical realism, science, sex, romance, inter-generational conflict, lesbians, child abuse, astrology, physics, dreams, alcoholism, video games, quirky dialog, suicide, poetical turns of phras
I hated the writing with a passion. It's a nonsensical plot as well - I couldn't believe I was hoping for Shine Shine Shine's Sunny and her wig to come and rescue me from the precious geniuses of this book. It's my fault for having expected a bit more than what was delivered. But as much as I am a fan of magical realism, this whimsy was a bit too - I don't know, childish? - to swallow. For not a single moment could I take the plight of these protagonists seriously. Maybe that's the point. But I ...more
The Book Maven
Let me just get this out of the way. If any two or more of the following apply: a difficult relationship with your mother, your mother is dead, or your mother is an alcoholic, proceed with caution. You're in for a potentially rough ride.

Summary: When Irene's problematic, alcoholic mother suddenly dies, Irene feels free to return to her hometown of Toledo, where she can pursue her career as an astronomer and scientist. Almost immediately, she becomes entangled with a colleague, George, who effort
This is such a quirky, cute love story that will appeal to the nerd in all of us. George and Irene are both super smart astronomers who have a chance encounter at the Toledo Institute of Astronomy and their attraction is instantaneous. But there is more than chance at play here, as their whole existence was really preordained by their mothers. Though it is obvious they are yin to the others yang, dubious Irene is hesitant and not ready to believe in love. Though she is able to create black holes ...more
What a weird book. If you liked Shine, Shine, Shine, I have no doubt you will also like this one. But it was weird, and I need to think about it for a few days before writing any kind of real review.
JG (The Introverted Reader)
Okay, this was weird. But it was a weird that I liked.

Astronomer Irene Sparks decides to move back to Toledo on the day that she almost simultaneously creates a mini black hole in her lab and learns that her alcoholic mother has died. She's always wanted to go back home and work for the world-famous Toledo Institute of Astronomy, so when she's offered a job there, she jumps at it.

George Dermont is also an astronomer working at The Institute. While Irene's approach to the night sky is grounded fi
Melina O.
I feel like lately I've just been picking the wrong books to read. This book was just not all there for me...

It was a love story but tried to be more than that. The main characters fall in love because of some sort of convoluted predetermined plan by their mothers. The one character's mother is a lesbian drunk who'll do anything for her friend. The other character's mother is sort of like a helicopter parent, constantly deciding what is right/wrong for her child. Within the story, there are some
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Lydia Netzer lives in Virginia with her two children and husband.

Her first novel, Shine Shine Shine, was published by St. Martin's Press. It was an IndieNext Pick, a SIBA Okra Pick, a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize, Amazon's Spotlight Book in Best Books of July 2012, a People's Pick in People Magazine, and a NYT Notable Book.

Her new novel, How to Tell Toledo From the Night Sky, was publish
More about Lydia Netzer...
Shine Shine Shine Everybody's Baby: A Novella

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“Who cares if it's dangerous? Who wants to be the person who doesn't touch two bells together to make a sound, who doesn't hit a baseball with a bat, doesn't grind and orange against a knife. In life, there is only collision to keep us from dissolution, and there is only love to keep us from death. In this bumping into that, there is salvation and sacrament, an end to the endless falling, a wall between us and oblivion.” 2 likes
“Sleep is a shallow death we practice every night.” 1 likes
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