Haunting, wonderfully and masterfully written. You experience many different cultures at once while following a compelling storyline. This author is y...moreHaunting, wonderfully and masterfully written. You experience many different cultures at once while following a compelling storyline. This author is young and this is her first novel, and I would have NEVER guessed. Oyeyemi is one to keep an eye on, for sure.(less)
Very interesting at first, but then just got too bogged down in some painfully obvious "meanings" and philosophy. I got halfway through and then got b...moreVery interesting at first, but then just got too bogged down in some painfully obvious "meanings" and philosophy. I got halfway through and then got bored. But the set-up and the printing of the pages is pretty creative and fascinating. (less)
I'm currently re-reading the Abhorsen trilogy, and this is by far my favorite book. I LOVE the Clayr's library and the idea that a librarian's job can...moreI'm currently re-reading the Abhorsen trilogy, and this is by far my favorite book. I LOVE the Clayr's library and the idea that a librarian's job can be dangerous, treacherous, adventurous, and requires "Charter magic" and contains tombs of books and floors unknown to some librarians as they've been unused and hidden for such a while ... I'm currently getting my Masters in Library Science, and if only I could be a librarian in the Clayr's library, I think my life would be complete! Some collections of books are so dangerous that they are chained to the shelves, deep in the library, on unexplored floors; as you advance in position, you are given more access to rooms and a new color of tunic; just to work in the library, you get a whistle and a charter-spelled mouse that you can send for help if you are in trouble while shelving! There are Charter Sendings who YEARN to shelve! Ah! I just love it! If I could paint a picture of the amazingness, I would so do it, but I think the words defy depiction in any other form but the imagination ... And this is only a part of this book! I kind of wish the whole book were about the Clayr's library, or that there was another book about it and the Clayr. But I also love the creepiness of the Abhorsen's bandolier of bells that can be "tricky" and dangerous to user and the Dead. Again, the imagery of "walking in Death" and the iciness of the river, and it's need to pull you deeper past all 9 gates into a sort of permanent death, and the idea that dead creatures and people alike may be waiting at certain gates for a chance to get back into life to wreak havoc ... so creepy and cool, seriously. This is from "Sabriel" but goes for all of the Abhorsen books, and I find it creepy and compelling, a description of all the bells of a necromancer:
"'Ranna,' she said aloud, touching the first and smallest bell. Ranna the sleepbringer, the sweet, low sound that brought silence in its wake. 'Mosrael.' The second bell, a harsh, rowdy bell. Mosrael was the waker, the bell Sabriel should never use, the bell whose sound was a seesaw, throwing the ringer further into Death, as it brought the listener into Life. 'Kibeth.' Kibeth, the walker. A bell of several sounds, a difficult and contrary bell. It could give freedom of movement to one of the Dead, or walk them through the next gate. Many a necromancer had stumbled with Kibeth and walked where they would not. 'Dyrim.' A musical bell, of clear and pretty tone. Dyrim was the voice that the Dead so often lost. But Dyrim could also still a tongue that moved too freely. 'Belgaer.' Another tricksome bell, that sought to ring of its own accord. Belgaer was the thinking bell, the bell most necromancers scorned to use. It could restore independent thought, memory and all the patterns of a living person. Or, slipping in a careless hand, erase them. 'Saraneth.' The deepest, lowest bell. The sound of strength. Saraneth was the binder, the bell that shackled the Dead to the wielder's will. And last, the largest bell, the one Sabriel's cold fingers found colder still, even in the leather case that kept it silent. 'Astarael, the Sorrowful,' whispered Sabriel. Astarael was the banisher, the final bell. Properly rung, it cast everyone who heard it far into Death. Everyone, including the ringer."(less)
What an interesting, fantastical book! It's full of mysticism, folklore, mythology, and magic all combined in such a way that you feel like every bit...moreWhat an interesting, fantastical book! It's full of mysticism, folklore, mythology, and magic all combined in such a way that you feel like every bit of oddness is natural and normal. It reminds me of the magical realism of so many Latin-American authors, yet with the added feel of cross-cultural folklore woven in. It tells the story of two families, the secrets these families harbor, and the unraveling of lifetimes. (less)
An all around fascinating tale of mysterious, ghostly presences, complicated twin relationships of two generations, and ultimate deception. I really l...moreAn all around fascinating tale of mysterious, ghostly presences, complicated twin relationships of two generations, and ultimate deception. I really liked how Niffenegger wrote, she's very good with words and descriptions and weaving together a seamless story. My gripe is with the ending...not a fan. So that was a bit of a let down for me. My favorite descriptions are below:
"...there was something about being in the drawer that she liked. Being compressed into two cubic feet gave her a solidity that she quickly became addicted to. She didn't have separate body parts yet, but when she crowded into the drawer Elspeth felt sensation akin to tough: feelings that might be skin against hair, tongue against teeth. She began to stay in the drawer for long periods, to sleep, to think, to calm herself. It's like going back to the womb, she thought, happy to be contained." p.65
"The sun abruptly came out again and the cemetery changed from deep shade and grey to dappled yellow and pale green. The gravestones turned white and seemed to be edged with silver; they hovered, tooth-like amid the ivy." p.89 -- a gorgeous, descriptive image!
"There are several ways to react to being lost. One is to panic ... Another is to abandon yourself to the lostness, to allow the fact that you've misplaced yourself to change the way you experience the world." p. 264
Perhaps I'll give The Time Traveler's Wife a try. Hmm.
*Just saw this: "Her Fearful Symmetry broadsheets • Very rare print, perfect for framing • Has an illustration by Audrey Niffenegger and a passage from the book • Only 250 of these exist" --> I totally have one right on my computer desk at home! It's gorgeous, and this little bit is exciting : )(less)
This was a very interesting read ... I sort of connected to it as a female-led "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest." Throw in some questionable time-trav...moreThis was a very interesting read ... I sort of connected to it as a female-led "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest." Throw in some questionable time-travel to a distant possible future, and it's that easy! This poor, struggling, welfare mother is abused by society, as so many of this class are, and she is stuck in a state mental institution where no one gives a shit about her or anyone there. The "patients" are basically lower than animals at a zoo! Doctors begin to use them as experiment subjects -- when the prison system won't allow it! So they are even lower in the human-class than prisoners, and everything they say is warped into some sort of ridiculous mental-illness label, and they are shot up with Thorazine. The future stuff comes in when a possible society tries to keep itself the actual future -- apparently it can change, then this future Consuelo sees won't ever come to exist. The future bits reminded me a bit of "Egalia's Daughters" because men and women are sort of subjective -- mothering is a career/job that men/women choose to be a part of, gender-roles are absent, polyamorous relationships abound, and that's just the way it is. In a parallel-possible future, women are built like Barbie dolls, locked up, and know life as a prostitution gig with the hopes of getting to the higher-up males in society.
If you can manage to suspend your attachment to real-life beliefs for a couple hundred pages, then this might be the book for you. (less)
What a nice, calm, magical little book! This book has a female, sisterhood focus while in a small town where odd things happen, but folks accept it. A...moreWhat a nice, calm, magical little book! This book has a female, sisterhood focus while in a small town where odd things happen, but folks accept it. Autumn is a guide, healer, spiritual guru, witch -- whatever you want to call her -- and it's her time to move on. But before she goes, she must find a sisterhood and a head sister to replace her. We get to look into the lives of many different women, at many different stages in their lives, who possess some sort of unique 'gift' or 'power' that Autumn helps tend to and grow.
Looking for a relaxing read without all the fluff? This book would be my first recommendation. (less)
I had never read the actual story of Alice in Wonderland, and only had Disney's cartoon version to play back in my head. Prompted, I suppose, by a few...moreI had never read the actual story of Alice in Wonderland, and only had Disney's cartoon version to play back in my head. Prompted, I suppose, by a few different things: Tim Burton movie coming out in March, finding a free for-donation copy (obviously worn with love) with the illustrations and everything at work, and seeing a movie on Netflix, Phoebe in Wonderland -- I felt the urge to read the book.
As one can imagine, it didn't take me long, and I was surprised at how different the Disney movie was from the book (I know, naive!). The first book, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, is fairly similar, but Through the Looking-Glass was all kinds of different, and wonderfully strange and imaginative! For myself, I don't care about what "the story could really mean" or whatever overly-zealous English Literature Theorists and Critics do to analyze a book, I just felt in the story like a child, in the moment, in all its strangeness and beauty. And the poetry that runs rampant in it is really great (a big one left out of the movie).
Also, the introduction about Lewis Carroll, real name Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, was really interesting. To get his pseudonym, he did something like translate his name into Latin, then translate it back into anglicized English. Anyway, if you haven't read it, or think you're too old for such silliness, just indulge and give it a couple hours of your time. (less)
I really enjoyed this book -- the ancestral tradition of magic; the personification of the houses of various families and what they stand for and the...moreI really enjoyed this book -- the ancestral tradition of magic; the personification of the houses of various families and what they stand for and the magical Butlers who keep the houses fantastical; family traditions of specific life plans (i.e. Fyrdraaca's go into the military); Flora's mother's rejection of magic in her home and life, leading Flora to discover and follow curiosity on her own ... and leading female characters who exhibit strength and can stand alone, even though Flora's best friend, Udo, is a guy, he's like a best friend side-kick of sorts.
Can't wait to read on in the trilogy!
*This story reminded me a bit of the Abhorsen Trilogy by Garth Nix -- female lead, magic, family tradition, ancestral house/land and tradition of adult paths, etc. -- which are AMAZING. (less)