Welcome to Triple Choice Tuesday. This is where I ask some of my favourite bloggers, writers and readers to share the names of three books that mean a lot to them. The idea is that it might raise the profile of certain books and introduce you to new titles, new authors and new bloggers.
Today's guest is Chad Hull from Fiction is so Overrated.
Chad is a professional musician who finds enough time to read when not changing guitar strings and wondering why his piano won't hold a tune. He also enjoys baseball, college basketball and most anything made with chocolate. He secretly fears that one day his love of reading may compel him to write.
Without further ado, here are Chad's Triple Choice Tuesday selections:
A favourite book: The Magicians by Lev Grossman
If you ask me to talk about The Magicians I'll start complaining: I can nitpick, whine and moan about of a host of issues, but the only reason I can do so is because I absolutely loved every word. I've yet to see a description of the book that doesn't make me roll my eyes, but I'm not sure I'll be able to do any better. The Magicians isn't Harry Potter or Narnia for adults; it's more a love letter to the fantasy genre from one who has no compunctions in mercilessly mocking it.
Grossman has a sense of reality and contemporary awareness that makes it hard to read The Magicians in the mindset of fantasy novel. While he gives constant 'shout-outs' to others in the genre, Grossman has his own story to tell about adolescence, coming of age and what it means to grow up; things like an awesome (and bizarre) magical college, a secondary world, monsters and demons are purely incidental gravy.
After this short post I think I have to admit to myself that I'm no longer on the fence concerning, 'Do I love or hate The Magicians?'
There's a difficulty in conveying how good something is without endlessly gushing and losing credibility: I'm presently struggling with said difficulty. It's a small book that nearly demands a second reading. Base level comprehension is easy and the novel is readily enjoyable, but upon completion you'll have a none to subtle feeling of knowing you didn't get everything out of the book that Krauss offered. I wouldn't call the language dense, but Krauss is very aware of every word she chooses and her use of language is nothing short of beautiful.
I feel Krauss' greatest accomplishment — and what changed my reading world — is the novel's structure. Beginning. Middle. The End. Krauss has her own original ideas on presentation to the point that Great House almost feels like a collection of short stories, and while merely changing the established and expected structure of a novel is no big deal, to do so and have such impact on the reader is surprising and refreshing.
Great House is a bit of a travelogue: we see New York, London, and Jerusalem. It's also a passionate and very personal treasure hunt for lost things. There is a great joy in figuring out character connections and understanding the themes, but the primary pleasure is merely reading the words on the page: seriously, her prose is that pretty. While I could sympathise or identify with certain characters, and the themes are strong enough to resonate with any reader, Great House changed my reading world because before I read it, I didn't know it was possible to write a book like this.
Ever read a book where you feel like the author is showing off? Gershow does that consistently in her debut novel and endeared me to her craftsmanship with every page. The pacing and overall dynamics of the book are so well controlled that she forces you to live in all the tension she creates no matter how badly you want to know what happens next.
The book is about Lydia who deals with the sudden disappearance of her brother and how his absence effects every aspect of her life. The book is about loss and coping and the events that can define our lives. The best praise I can offer The Local News is that upon completion I gave my copy away to my dad and bought two others for friends. (All three of them love it too.)
Thanks, Chad, for taking part in my Triple Choice Tuesday!
I've not read any of these books, but the cover image on The Magicians alone is enough to make me want to read it. Who said you shouldn't judge a book by its cover? I also love the sound of The Local News.
What do you think of Chad's choices? Have you read any of these books?