This is probably the first book I’ve read that falls under the category “experimental literature.” Rich Ives has written what seems to be a series of connected vignettes, each introduced with a diagram by Nils Davey and concluded with an illustration from Jack Callil. Each chapter is named for its diagrams, each of which illustrates a common tool. Even the final chapter, “Ghost Twins” shows a tool, though a more complex one: “the twins may not reveal their purpose easily.”
The fairy tale is such an underrated genre for adults. I think sometimes when we talk about fairy tales we forget just how twisted the genre was at the beginning, and that many of the original stories weren’t intended for children.
The Strange Library combines two things that I love dearly: libraries and strange supernatural occurrences. The story begins with a boy returning his books to the library. When he asks the librarian for help finding more books, she directs him to a confined room in the basement where a small old man helps him locate three gigantic volumes on tax collection in the Ottoman Empire. However, when he tries to check the books out, he is told that he must instead read the books there, in the reading room, from cover to cover. Now trapped in the library, he must find a way home without arousing the suspicion of the librarian.
I was introduced to Haruki Murakami through his short story “Super Frog Saves Tokyo,” which was required reading for a writing seminar on magical realism. This genre has its roots in fantasy and the supernatural, but works on a much smaller scale. Often, the stories take place in a world that is very similar to our own and hint at the eerie, strange, and magical things that may exist all around us. This novella is further proof that Murakami has truly mastered this genre.
I really wanted to enjoy this book more. There was a lot of hype around it last year with the premier of the show, but when it came down to it, it just wasn’t for me. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad book. Gabaldon is a good writer. I enjoyed the comparison of the two timelines, and contemplating what aspects of humanity would or wouldn’t have changed in two hundred years.
For one Christmas, I can’t remember which, I received my first Harry Potter books. It was the first boxset, the one that contained Sorcerer’s Stone through Goblet of Fire. Before then, I hadn’t known or cared what Harry Potter was. I was unimpressed by the intricate Golden Snitch presented to me by a classmate on stark white computer paper. Looking back, I’m not sure how or why I avoided the topic for so long.
But one does not spurn a gift of books, and my mother knew my tastes well enough. Before long I had devoured them, tore through them like Dudley through his birthday presents.
Of all the Miyazaki films I have loved before, Howl’s Moving Castle is not one of them. However, upon discovering that the original source material was a young adult fantasy novel by Diana Wynne Jones, I decided to give it a shot, as it is filled with the things my younger heart would have loved. Witches? Wizards? Magic? A minimal romantic subplot? Yes, please!
This week I finished The Namesake, the first novel of Pulitzer Prize winning author Jhumpa Lahiri. When I first picked it up I had no idea what it was about, and knew only that Lahiri’s second novel The Lowland had been nominated for both the Man Booker Prize and the National Book Award in 2013. In my decision to diversify my reading list, her works made their way to the top of my TBR pile.