Tuesday, December 27, 2011

What I'm Reading

I have two books underway right now (three if you count the fact that I've been halfway through The Two Towers for several months): Catherynne M. Valente's The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making and Ron Franscell's The Sourtoe Cocktail Club. I'm just a few chapters into each, but so far they're both terrific.

Despite their thoroughly dissimilar genres, these books bear a number of curious resemblances to one another, setting off my coincidence-o-meter in a whimsical way. Both are itinerant stories, featuring a central figure on a journey through fanciful locales. Both have strong themes built around the tensions and affections that tie parents and children together. And both share the central aspiration of any literary work, which is to say something about Life. Each is funny and touching, with something amusing on almost every page and, more often than not, something thought-provoking following straightaway on its heels. Each is written in its own distinctive and different voice, yet they both exhibit a certain quality of effortlessness in their styles: they both make the process of narrative look easy and the delivery of wisdom seem casual.

I'll probably write reviews of each when I'm done, but for now, even a brief exposure to these books makes me confident in recommending them to discerning readers.

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