Book Talk: #weirdathon update // Wolf in White Van

7:00:00 PM

Hello, friends. I'm back with another weirdathon update. Did you think I would make it? I doubted if I would - it's been a crazy week! But I read the best (weird) books this week, so I had to share. If your wondering what the hell is going on, I'll refer you to my first post.

The first book I finished wasn't originally part of my weirdathon TBR, but the more I listened to it, the more I couldn't deny it's weirdness. That book is The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker

This (audio)book seemed right up my alley from the first time I looked it over. Historical fiction? Check. Mythological/folkloric retelling? Check. I had no idea that I was about to submerge myself in a world full of dark and kabbalistic magic. This book is beautifully written, and not only unfurls two equally engrossing stories from wildly different cultures, but it does so with grace, and all while asking us to look deeply at humanity and our perception of life. Should humans have the power to create and to destroy? What happens when monsters become humans and humans become monsters? How much power is one person capable of possessing? Is it right (morally, religiously) for any person to create life? To control it? While I expected from the beginning that these two parallel storylines would eventually intersect, I never tired of hearing the story of the golem and the story of the jinni unfold, and more than anything, I loved that this was an adaptation of stories that I had never experienced before. 

I have to admit, I'd heard of this next book before, but I didn't actively seek it out until I joined the weirdathon. So, props to Julianne for enabling me to buy more books getting me out of my comfort zone. In one day, I bought (and devoured) Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle.

This has to be the most conceptually fascinating book I've read this year - you'd think that a book told in reverse chronological order would be confusing or uninteresting, but it's the complete opposite. It's difficult to talk about it without giving away some major plot points, but I'll just say that the story starts with our narrator alluding to an events that greatly affected his life and moves backward in time until we reach the moment in question. It's incredibly cool, and also one of those books that demands to be read over again as soon as it is finished. I wanted to give myself a little time to marinate on it, but since it's a relatively quick read, I'm hoping to reread it again very soon (and perhaps read it from back to front). It definitely left my head spinning and had me wondering if I fully understood what was happening as it was happening, as well as questioning what was reality and what was part of the game constructed by the narrator. It's bizarre and awesome and I definitely recommend it.

Up next, I'm hoping to knock out another recent purchase (Shirley Jackson's We Have Always Lived in the Castle) as well as finishing off my weird short stories (Neil Gaiman's Trigger Warning). Let me know what you've been reading lately (and give me ALL the book recommendations below)! See you next week for another dose of weirdness!

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  1. hi, I read about wolf in white van, it does sound fascinating. Would highly recommend We have always lived in the castle, very extreme weirdness:-)

    1. I would definitely recommend Wolf in White Van. I'm with you on We Have Always Lived in the Castle - is was totally bizarre!!


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