I have once again returned from the dark recesses of my bedroom, (kind of, I got out of bed, does that count?) to write you another review of what I’ve been reading this month. I would like to say that I’ve been productive this last month, going on adventures. The reality is I’ve read a lot, making the most of my free time while I still have it, before I’ll be swamped in essay deadlines and exams. In Spain they would call me “una rata de bibioteca”; a library rat. (Bookworm). A name I enjoy living up to. It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines who you will be when you can’t help it. [Oscar Wilde]. Books are a small taste of heaven and an escape from the everyday stresses of our vague and so often dim reality. Books can reimburse that missing delight from your day and lift the heavy weight of the world from your shoulders, even if only for a short time. Without further ado, here are my three recommendations from this month.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.
Starting the month with a novel that embraces our childhood belief of magic that walks amongst us. The only novel (so far) by Morgenstern, she magnificently captures that childlike innocence that has been hidden away in all of us. Creative, unique and captivating, this book was so incredibly enjoyable. I’ve never read anything like this. It takes fantasy and twists it into something so fresh and delightful. Although the human pain of love and loss are felt, it is backed up by magical imagery that is so hard to find in a book these days. It is like the divergent fairy-tale we have spent all our lives searching for. In summary; this book is incredible and you should probably read it.
Burton & Swinburne in The Strange Affair of Spring-Heeled Jack by Mark Hodder.
There is no other way to describe this book other than the fact that it is strange and I love it. It is a steampunk novel and masterfully composed as such. Steampunk, for those who may be unaware of this peculiar genre, is a specific sub-genre of science-fiction. It takes the 19th century Victorian era and twists it into this technological, hipster world where technology and aesthetic design collide into a world of industrial, steam-powered machinery. Mixing this obscure, industrial world with one man that carries the burden of his past, leads us to the adventures, excitement and danger of this fictional universe, which leaves one gripping the book in eagerness. Hodder creates complex characters and shows off his deep knowledge of Victorian urban myths. It is indeed a strange, yet inviting book, perfect for those looking for a taste of obscurity, or for those who bathe in it.
Mother, Mother by Koren Zailckas
The beauty of this book is how human it is. Although I am an intense lover of fantasy novels, there is something incredible about books that remind us of the fragility of ourselves. This novel takes a mother’s love and the both struggles and sometimes dangers of being a guiding figure for our children. Not every home is perfect, in fact few are. Every family has its issues and the Hurst family are no exception. Take three children, all with their own intense problems and a mother with a fondness for control and authority. Now we have the fun ride that is Mother, Mother. I enjoyed this book immensely, I hope you do too.