I was drawn to The Plot by the cover. I try not to judge books by their covers, but the double entrendre of this one, with the book on the book cover and a burial plot in the background of the title, immediately captured my attention. And I did very much enjoy the layers of this story within a story, this nesting doll of layers that Korelitz presents here. But when the premise revolves around the writing of a book with a completely unique plot, one which is not a variation of the same handful of plots we’ve told and retold since before written language came to be, you don’t expect to guess the twist. Alas, that was my experience. The Plot sets out to deliver something new, and does to an extent, but I feel that it promised more than it was able to deliver.
“Good writers borrow, great writers steal. —T. S. Eliot (but possibly stolen from Oscar Wilde)”
I have always been fascinated by fairy tales. From an early age, any book I could find filled with fairy tales or fables, myths or legends or fables, immediately drew me in like a moth to flame. I have well over two dozen collections of such stories in my physical library, and I’m scared to even count those on my Kindle. Something about these stories, from the morals they attempt to convey to the questions they seek to answer. about the ways in which the world works, tells readers just as much about the society they come from as an historical text. And I’ve always had a soft spot for more modern tales inspired by these stories. Because of this, I’m not really sure why it took me so long to pick up The Book of Lost Things, but it was every bit as whimsical and melancholy and lovely as I hoped it would be. Some fairy tale retellings, or stories inspired in some way by fairy tales, can come across as too saccharine, but that was certainly not the case here. There was a charm to the story, for sure, but it was by no means sweet. …
For years, I thought The Shadow of the Wind was a standalone novel. When I learned that wasn’t the case, I ignored that information for more years. I thought The Shadow of the Wind was pretty nearly perfect on its own, and didn’t need expanded upon. I’ve read some marvelous books that should have been left alone, that had further books tacked on later that didn’t measure up to the first, and somehow manage to tarnish that first book. I didn’t want that to happen to my magical experience with The Shadow of the Wind, so I just ignored the rest of the series for a long time. But then, I found a gorgeous copy of The Labyrinth of the Spirits, the last of the quartet, on sale. I had to buy it for the cover alone, because it just captivated me. But I still didn’t think I intended to read it, or the two books between it and that first novel I had so loved. …
Why She Wrote: A Graphic History of the Lives, Inspiration, and Influence Behind the Pens of Classic Women Writers by Lauren Burke My rating:4 of 5 stars
I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher, Chronicle Books, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Why She Wrote is not a book I would have stumbled upon without NetGalley, and I would have been missing out. This collection of graphic biographies takes 18 women who wrote and, in sets of three, seeks to illuminate their lives and motivations just the tiniest bit. I really like the way this is presented. Each author gets a page-long bio, followed by a short comic answering the titular question of why she wrote, and finished off with a list of published works and important facts. It reminded me of Rejected Princesses, though I can see where it would have even more in common with Monster, She Wrote, which I have yet to read. …
I received an audio copy of this book from the publisher, Blackstone Publishing, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
This time of year, all I want to do is cozy up with a book that’s going to suck me in and keep me distracted from the cold. And there’s nothing cozier in my opinion than a literary mystery. Any time a book or an author takes centerstage in a plot, I’m excited. That excitement often leaves me disappointed, as I tend to expect too much of these books for some reason. But sometimes I get my hands on a book that delivers. Escaping Dreamland is one such book. This is the first Charlie Lovett novel I’ve read, but it certainly won’t be my last. …
I received a digital copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
The Dictionary of Lost Words is a beautiful book. But I was not prepared for the levels of heartbreak that were going to be present. I kept having to put the book down to try to find my way back into a more positive headspace. Had I read the book in any other stage in my life, I think I would have been able to divorce myself more easily from it and enjoy it more. However, everyone knows this year has been horrendous, and for some reason I was just unable to cope with the relentless hard knocks suffered by the poor protagonist. There was something about the bright tone of the book that made those blows even more terrible, and that’s what kept the novel from being a five star read for me. It was emotionally draining.
“Words define us, they explain us, and, on occasion, they serve to control or isolate us. But what happens when words that are spoken are not recorded? What effect does that have on the speaker of those words?”
The planet lost an incredible talent today. Carlos Ruiz Zafón, the author of this truly magnificent book, lost his battle with cancer, at the age of 55. Zafón had a brilliant, gorgeous way with words, and told stories in a way that sink into your bones and stay with you long after you read the last pages. Though he left the world too soon, he left behind him an amazing legacy in the novels that have touched countless readers across our world, which have been translated into more than 40 languages. I’m so thankful to have read and been touched by The Shadow of the Wind, and I’m grateful to have the rest of his catalogue in my future.
“Well, this is a story about books.”
“About accuse books, about the man who wrote them, about a character who broke out of the pages of a novel so that he could burn it, about ta betrayal and a lost friendship. It’s a story of love, of hatred, and of dreams that live in the shadow of the wind.”