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How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky

3.30  ·  Rating details ·  2,538 ratings  ·  499 reviews
Lydia Netzer, the award-winning author of Shine Shine Shine, weaves a mind-bending, heart-shattering love story that asks, "Can true love exist if it's been planned from birth?"

Like a jewel shimmering in a Midwest skyline, the Toledo Institute of Astronomy is the nation's premier center of astronomical discovery and a beacon of scientific learning for astronomers far and w
Hardcover, 339 pages
Published July 1st 2014 by St. Martin's Press
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Sue Warren I'm finding it a little low on what it sold itself on - science and math interwoven with a love story - and a little high on tawdry sexual content!…moreI'm finding it a little low on what it sold itself on - science and math interwoven with a love story - and a little high on tawdry sexual content!(less)
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 ·  2,538 ratings  ·  499 reviews

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Diane S ☔
Mar 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
(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
Mar 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Priscille Sibley
Jan 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: book-pregnant, 2014
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
Jul 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Alison Law
Feb 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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: ...more
Danielle Prielipp
Jan 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant! Nerd-romance at its finest...and I was reading the "preliminary passes" version because I just couldn't wait for the final edits. ...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
Jul 11, 2014 rated it it was ok
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.
May 19, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc, 2014
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. ...more
Jul 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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.
Suzze Tiernan
Feb 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
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.
Jun 11, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: urc-50
Rounding up to 3 stars, because, in the end, I liked the story, and the characters, and the quirky feel of a Toledo that never really existed tied to magic that probably doesn't fit have a historical basis.

The stuff I didn't like? It was nothing terrible, but neither did it help the book. There was sex, but felt weakened because it wasn't about passion. Th3e self-discovery cam late and by accident, and both the science and the magic were, to all appearances, mere McGuffins.

There's a vein of Magi
May 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 30, 2014 rated it it was ok
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
Apr 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Victoria Zieger
I have mixed feelings about this book. It was a bit odd in a way that made it confusing in a lot of parts. The relationship was so different and I thought it was interesting. The concept of love and where it comes from and how we deal with it was very interesting but I just didn’t like the characters.

#booked2018 #unconventionallovestory
Lisa DellAquila
Jun 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Rhiannon Johnson
Jun 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
May 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, vine, fiction
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
Mike Phelan
Mar 09, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
Gave it 2.5 chapters. At that point, we had at least the following:

- Protagonist invents portable particle accelerator size of small room to do grad school project.

- Protagonist creates a black hole, the proof of which is that she can see it. That means it has a Schwarzchild radius of ~ .1 mm, and thus the mass of the moon.

- Protagonist "records her data" via writing down that it was purple.

- Protagonist calls major research university, tells them "I did it!", describes data over phone, they ex
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
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! ...more
Jessica Jeffers
Dec 31, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, netgalley
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.
Dec 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
An adorable story that takes place where I reside. It was fun reading about the places. The story was cute too. Not literary genius but cute.
Really fast DNF because: nope, still not into quirky lit fic romances about fated lovers, star-crossed or otherwise. I should know better than to attempt any book that is primarily a romance. It's not a plot category that holds much interest for me. ...more
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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

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