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The Book of Speculation
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January 2017: Bonus Admin Tags > The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler, 4 stars

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message 1: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy | 8542 comments Librarian Tag - 4 stars. This book has a haunting and dreamlike quality. The mystery surrounding the connections is eerie and it enraptures you right in. The story alternates between the present and the past. In the present is a male librarian who receives a mysterious book connected to his past. He has a sister (with an unusual boyfriend), and a girlfriend, whose family is quite connected to his parents who have passed away long ago. The story of the past surrounds the early days of a carnival or traveling troupe, where unusual circumstances brings some new characters into their traveling family. Of course past and present weave together in dangerous stormy explosive events, as Simon struggles to both hold tight and let go.

One of the things I liked about the book is the concept that our families, and objects, hold the energy of our past. That energetic karma can be held in a book, a house, perhaps jewelry, clothing, a particular beach. I'm sure this isn't unusual, but I have some of my grandmother's jewelry, and I think about her wearing the same ring and what that carries. And who my jewelry might go to. I think about how books are passed down from child to child. About how the same objects we use at holidays hold the energetic power of blessing and holidays past. A kiddish cup, seder plate, wine glasses from Jerusalem, and countless other things we use every day. I have teased my husband mercilessly about his grandmother's spoon, which we cannot throw out, but gets used to spoon out dog food. We are keeping this thing because your father used to eat cereal with it? An old chair? It makes sense to me that a tarot deck would carry the energy and wishes and dreams of everyone who has touched it - and would need to be cleansed. Of course we throw our hopes and dreams and experiences into our homes, our clothing, our jewelry, and special objects. And we know that families share and pass their karma around. This book was an exaggurated suspenseful version of that, but truly to me, not so much of a stretch. Ultimately to live, we have to carry our pasts, but be also willing to let go and walk towards our own destiny. This book is about Simon's journey to figure that out. I enjoyed the ride, and got quite caught up in it.

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7759 comments I also thoroughly enjoyed this book! I thought it was unique and, while I enjoyed the historical chapters more than the present day ones, it had me engaged from start to finish!

message 3: by Denizen (new) - added it

Denizen (den13) | 1138 comments I enjoyed it also. I really enjoyed Enola's boyfriend.

JoLene (trvl2mtns) | 1532 comments Nice review......and timely comments as we are in the process of moving my mom into a retirement community which will require her to down-size. Difficult times ahead because she takes it personally when I say that I don't want the toothpick holder that was a souvenirs that her grandmother bought from a truck stop in Wisconsin and used to sit on her grandmother's window :-)

I also read this for the library tag --- there are a lot of events tied to water and I was listening to the audio of the visit in Charlotte while driving through some particularly bad rainstorms; it was a bit of a surreal experience!

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