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The Rabbit Back Literature Society

3.51  ·  Rating details ·  5,018 ratings  ·  835 reviews
Only nine people have ever been chosen by renowned children's author Laura White to join the Rabbit Back Literature Society, an elite group of writers in the small town of Rabbit Back. Now a tenth member has been selected: a young literature teacher named Ella.

Soon Ella discovers that the Society is not what it seems. What is its mysterious ritual known as "The Game"? What
Hardcover, 343 pages
Published January 20th 2015 by Thomas Dunne Books (first published 2006)
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Ruben Fowler I think it would make a great teen book, with a few caveats.

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3.51  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,018 ratings  ·  835 reviews

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an enthusiastic 3.5

erin was good enough to send me her copy of this book, which i had already requested from netgalley, but since i have had really poor luck lately getting approved in a timely manner, she offered to mail me hers. and wouldn't you know - the day it arrived in my mailbox was the same day i got approved on netgalley.

and after all those folks throwing the book at me, i just wish i'd loved it more than i did.

i love the cover, the font, the premise, and when i read the list of compar
Nov 29, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It pains me to say this, but this is one of the worst books I've read in a long time. Normally I would have given up on it halfway through, but everything I had read about it made it seem like just the kind of thing I'd like. I don't even know where to start with all that's wrong with it. I guess I should start with the writing, which is just terrible. Maybe it's a bad translation (I read it in English), but it was honestly just dreadfully written. The way a 14-year-old would write a school essa ...more
Sep 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
This has been one of the stranger reading experiences I've had for some time---a book that bridges the real and fantastic worlds by way of an unusual local society of writers, writers developed from childhood by a mysterious local celebrity author, Laura White. This is not a book for those who crave realism or set chronology. They will despair and probably leave the story behind. There were moments of somewhat awkward writing/transitions (or was it awkward translating) where I wondered where the ...more
I didn't think I was ever going to read this book. I got it about a year ago, and then I read a few lukewarm reviews that decried it as cosy and twee. At that point, I put it to one side and sort of forgot about it. However, this month so far I have only really felt in the mood for cosy books, so I thought it might be just what I needed.

Perhaps my low expectations made me more receptive to the book, because not only did I really like it, I also found it surprisingly less cosy and twee than I had
Matthew Quann
Dec 09, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: worldly
[3.5 Stars]

The Rabbit Back Literature Society will undoubtedly be the quirkiest book I’ll read this year. It is also one that I think a lot of you will enjoy!

I decided to pick The Rabbit Back Literature Society up on two accounts. The first: I wanted to read more international authors in 2016 and Finnish author Jääskeläainen fits the bill. The second: the AV Club picked this book as one of their favorites of 2015 and I tend to trust their judgment.

Roughly, the plot: Ella Milana is a young school

Description: Only nine people have ever been chosen by renowned children’s author Laura White to join “The Rabbit Back Literature Society,” an elite group of writers in the small town of Rabbit Back. Now a tenth member has been selected: Ella, a young literature teacher. Soon Ella discovers that the Society is not what it seems. What is its mysterious ritual known as “The Game”? What explains the strange disappearance that occurs at Laura White’s winter party? Why are the words inside books sta
Bob Milne
Books are strange and wonderful things. On the surface, they are nothing more than tiny stacks of aging pages, each defaced by a perplexing pattern of black marks. Hold them the right way, however, and those black marks not only begin to take on meaning, but reveal entire worlds that cannot physically exist between pages. What's more, while the black marks themselves are fixed, their structure is fluid, revealing a new, subtly different world for each and every reader.

It really is a sort of magi
Sep 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book, but it definitely helped talking out some of the themes with my book club. Ostensibly this book is about the strange occurrences that surround a prestigious group of writers in Scandinavia, The Rabbit Back Literature Society is an exploration of the nature of memory and how it influences identity and relationships.

The story of this book follows and explores the history of The Rabbit Back Literature Society and its secretive founder, the beloved children's book writer
Jan 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, favorites
A mythological mapping of the craft, of writerly aspirations and all associated neuroses, The Rabbit Back Literature Society is the writer’s novel, distilled and bottled into a lovely winter’s night mystery tale. It is a windblown snowstorm of tangents, disturbing dreams, and frightening forays into the psyche sweeping up into drifts of mystique, the answers to which are rewarded the prudent reader.

There’s The Game, a source of inspiration and the drain of friendship among The Rabbit Back Liter
I've said at least twice, in writing, that I wouldn't read this book because it sounds too twee. And it is twee, but not excruciatingly so. Maybe this is the same part of me talking that actually rather liked 500 Days of Summer in the cinema. The description here isn't as sickly-oversweet as in Catherynne M. Valente's Fairyland. And life is not exactly perfect: as the story opens, the protagonist's father has Alzheimers in his 50s. But the book is twee in that even when something unpleasant is m ...more
Stefani Sloma
You can read this review and more on my blog, Caught Read Handed.

A confusing but sometimes enchanting story that’ll leave you lost in the end, The Rabbit Back Literature Society is good but not great.

NOTE: I was provided with an e-ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Thomas Dunne Books for letting me read this.

What first drew me to this book was that absolutely gorgeous cover. Obviously. Then my friend Jo over at Drifting Pages bought it. Then I saw it on
Mar 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book! The story was engrossing and was a fast read. And dare I say it? I enjoyed a book with magical realism!

Alright, I bumped it up to 5 stars! It's now December and I've been thinking about this book since I read it in March! I also chose it as my favorite Eclectic Readers book of 2016, so it deserves the bump up to 5 stars!
Jun 29, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf, 2017
I stopped on the first page. The second paragraph, in its entirety, reads:

The reader's name was Ella Amanda Milana. She was twenty-six years old and the possessor of a pair of beautifully curving lips and a pair of defective ovaries, among other parts.

There are so many things wrong with that paragraph that I'm not even going to list them. say, if you have the same visceral reaction to what you just read as I did, this is not the book for you.
Sifra (brilliant bookshelf)
Sep 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Read this review at Brilliant Bookshelf

Sometimes when you read a good book, it's impossible to write a review about it. The Rabbit Back Literature Society is like that. I really enjoyed it, but I can't seem to pinpoint exactly what it is I liked so much. For the sake of my blog, I still tried to get my thoughts on paper (or screen).

The thing that captured my interest most was the strikingly different balance of a realistic world and the extraordinary, magical things that happen in it. Rabbit Bac
Kelly Gunderman
Jan 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through the Goodreads First Reads giveaway.

I don't know what took me so long to start reading this book. I've had it for a few weeks, but for some reason, I couldn't pick it up and start it. Now that I've finished it, I could smack myself for not reading it sooner.

This book is fantastic.

I know I say that books are pretty good all the time. But something about this book (which made it good enough to land on my "favorites" shelf, just struck
Nov 28, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
There’s some interesting elements to this book: the mysterious book viruses, which changes the plots and corrupts the narratives of various books in the Rabbit Back library; the disappearance of Laura White; the mystery of the original tenth member of the society. But mostly it felt unfocused, because there’s a lot going on: the society, the game they play, their pasts, the disappearance, the main character’s experiences with her family…

And honestly, the more I read, the more I felt like I was r
Jan 30, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
A very strange and unusual book, I did enjoy it but I'm still a bit nonplussed about what it was supposed to be about!
I am not going to lie, I am not 100 percent sure what I think of this one. I enjoyed it but at the same time it was just a bit meh.

To start off with, I would really like to say how much I do enjoy the flare that the Scandinavian countries put into their work. It is extremely different from the books I am used to reading and undoubtedly interesting.

However, this story did suffer from a few things. While the story was there and I was enjoying it, it very much felt like the real story was hidden
Roxana Chirilă
In the town of Rabbit Back, strange things are happening. People have odd dreams that they seem to share. Books change their contents, the stories within them being rewritten at whim. A world-famous author of children's books, Laura White, once found nine children to tutor and turned them into great writers, and ever since then she's been looking for the tenth and last member of the "Rabbti Back Literature Society".

Ella is a substitute teacher with beautiful lips, beautiful nipples and defective
A shout out to Lola M. Rogers who translated this book from Finnish and made it possible for it to be read in English.

I love reading translated fiction as it gives me a chance to peek into cultures totally different from mine. Reading translated books lets me catch glimpses of the different kinds of people and societies populating this world. There’s something deliciously foreign and yet familiar about translated books. At least I thought so. With that introduction, let’s move on to the review o
Mar 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, horror-thriller
I loved the darkness of this novel. It presents terrors and wonders in a matter-of-fact way, as being contingent on reality like traffic jams or bad weather. The central mystery – the disappearance of the celebrated child author Laura White– is neither resolved nor explained by the end (indeed, it is replaced by the larger mystery of her near-death experience as a child when she fell through the ice in a lake).

In a novel full of such mysteries, it begins with Ella discovering that certain books
May 12, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lindsay at bookboodle gave me this book. She didn’t enjoy it that much because it was incredibly weird (you can read her review here). Knowing all the fantasy fiction I enjoy, she thought I might get on with the book a bit better than her:-)

So, did I love it? Not really. One of the quotes on the front cover says “unnerving, enigmatic”: I suspect these are reviewer euphemisms for “muddled” and “baffling”. And this is a shame. Certain elements of the story are intriguing and the whole thing is wel
Sep 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc-review
ARC for review - I won this through the FirstReads program and I can honestly say that, based on the description of the book, I never wanted to win one of these so badly and I was so excited to get lucky. This will be next up.

OK, first, here's why I was dying to read this book....."Twin Peaks meets the Brothers Grimm" (The Telegraph UK), "Mixes the small-town surrealism of Twin Peaks with the clandestine society of Donna Tartt's The Secret History" (The List), "Unnerving, enigmatic....hints of
Jessica Jeffers
Jan 05, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
I was really excited to read this because it sounded kind of like an awesome combination of The Shadow of the Wind, The Thursday Next series, The Club Dumas, and Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore. A creepy mystery set in the world of a secretive literary society? And that beautiful cover?? Sign me up.

I don't know if my expectations were too high or I was missing the point, but this book was really very middle of the road for me. It was ultimately a struggle to get through.

Ella gets invited to jo
Jul 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: translated, winter
Didn't realise this would have elements of magical realism - shame on me as Jaaskelainen is a well known fantasy and sci-fi author in Finland.

I loved this so much. It had many of the elements that make a book extra special for me: the winter landscape, writers/writing/books, folklore....

The core plot in this is a mystery: what is the Rabbit Back Literature Society? From there, more mysteries become apparent, concerning the founder of the Society, author Laura White, the nature of The Game, suppo
Aug 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: borrowed
The Rabbit Back Literature Society by Pasi Ilmari Jaaskalainen was first published in Finland in 2006. The novel in its lovely Pushkin Press edition has been translated from its original Finnish by Lola M. Rogers.

The novel’s protagonist, twenty six-year-old Ella Milana, is first introduced to us as ‘the reader’. She is a Finnish language and literature teacher – ‘a dreamy substitute with defective ovaries and gracefully curved lips’ – who has returned to her hometown, Rabbit Back, to work as a s
Charlotte Jones
Not only is the cover absolutely gorgeous but I am trying to diversify my reading more with the new books I am getting and reading so this completely fits that goal with Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen being a Finnish author. I love the dark humour that is peppered throughout this book and it is definitely one of the perks of this being a translated work but this also has some disadvantages. At points I feel that the writing seemed a little disconnected and although I understand that mysterious novels ...more
Aaron (Typographical Era)
Feb 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I’ve often pondered whether or not I could actually write a novel. Not if I’m actually capable of doing the work involved, the things like: researching a topic, defining a storytelling structure, adding layer upon layer of plot elements, finding the proper pacing, and creating characters that feel believable and realistic to the reader. What I wonder is, do I have what it takes to live the lifestyle of a writer? Could I spend hours at a stretch, isolated from the rest of the world, separated fro ...more
First thing, before you read this, learn your Nokken! I think that Americans miss something at the end by not knowing what a Nokken is...anyway....
I've read a lot of foreign books and Americans are used to tight, fast moving books in all genres. This was a slower book, but expertly written.
There are so many layers to this book... so many... a deep forest mystery and many human murder? (we don't know) mysteries and human nature layered with what drives people to be what they are. It's an interest
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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