The 3 Books I've Read So Far This Month

I really just need to get a "The Phantom Tollbooth" tattoo already.

Jul 12, 2014 at 9:00am | Leave a comment

image

These smelled amazing.

I love how books smell. Old books in particular but new books, too. Sometimes it's almost like vanilla (and check out this AWESOME infographic that an anonymous British chemistry teacher created) and sometimes it's just ink on warm paper.

Every book smells unique, of course, but I have long loved the Demeter Paperback fragrance for capturing the general impression of the scent.

That smell is both soothing and a little touch of memento mori -- after all, the scent is caused by compounds breaking down, by the long and slow decay of paper and ink and adhesive, the ingredients of physical books.

As long as there are places like the Whately Antiquarian Book Center (which Lesley and I were fortunate enough to visit back a few months back), I do not think we will be faced with any shortage of amazing book smells. So I don't feel bad about also doing a lot of reading on my various electronic devices. 

This month, while I've missed the sense of a paperback in my hand, I've been doing a lot of reading on my phone, by virtue of the Kindle app. What have I been reading? I am so glad you metaphorically asked.

image

Ed poses with our THREE copies of Dune that we recently found while sorting shelves.

1. "The Phantom Tollbooth" by Norton Juster

If I had to pick just one book to be my all-time favorite book, I think this is the book that I would wind up choosing. Basically, that's an agony of a choice right there, but I reread this book often and always come away with something that I needed. 

I reread this last month and then, because I needed something comfortable one day when I was sad, I reread it again last week. The book is literal and literate, full of puns and ridiculousness. "The Doldrums" crack me up even when I am at the height of my gothiest gloom.

2. "The Lies of Locke Lamora" by Scott Lynch

I picked this up because a family member who was visiting recommended it -- and I really enjoyed it. As far as genre goes, I think it's classed under fantasy. The world building is very solid and the magic system is dependent on language -- words have real power. 

(Don't all writers love that idea though?)

This isn't a new book but there's no reason not to grab it and enjoy it anyway. I can't keep up with new releases, y'all. ANYWAY. It's about a thief and his efforts to resist a shadowy figure taking over the criminal underworld.

My only complaint? There aren't really any women who are integral to the story. That's a fairly common failing in fantasy (damsels in distress don't actually count, sorry), but I'm willing to roll my eyes and deal with it for this book. There are other books in the series, so we'll see if my patience holds out or if some women pop up.

3. "Stories About Stories: Fantasy and the Remaking of Myth" by Brian Attebery

I'm not actually done with this one but cut me a little slack -- we're only two weeks into the month! 

This is nonfiction -- to borrow an especially apt phrase from one of the blurbs, it's an archaeology of fantasy and myth. It's a little academic-y but it has been a completely enjoyable read thus far. The history of fantasy is pretty epic (heh, get it? epic?) and I'm feeling really into the exploration of theory behind the genre as well.

image

Mmmm, the sweet vanilla smell of slowly decaying books.

My weekend plans involve a thorough rearranging of my studio -- if I can find a place to put the bottlejack press I built with Ed (and the 8-foot squid). I'm also pretty dedicated to curling up under my most recent quilt so I can read for a while.

What are you reading? What are your weekend plans?

And, as always, welcome to the weekend!