My new short story “I Drown Each Time” is now available to read at Fiction on the Web. Thanks, Charlie, for accepting and posting my story! And thanks to the lovely people who have already commented there.
I have some exciting news! Two more of my stories have been accepted by publishers and will be available in April!
On April 1st, my short story, “Greetings from Krampus” will be published in the The Chamber Magazine. Yes, it’s technically Christmas-themed horror which I think makes it perfect for an April Fool’s Day launch! Then on April 18th, my magical realism short story, “I Drown Each Time” will debut on Fiction on the Web.
I’ll post links to the stories once they’re available online, but I was excited and wanted to share!
Thanks for reading,
During this time of global fear and uncertainty, I’ve been escaping back into familiar fictional worlds. Reading has always been one of my favorite coping mechanisms, and so I wanted to share some of the books I’ve been enjoying during this time of quarantine (a lot of them are rereads of books I own because I love them so much).
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery – This is probably my favorite book of all time. It seems like each time I reread it, the experience is different but equally rich. This books covers a wide range of topics: philosophy, classism, cultural appreciation, and unlikely friendships.
Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell – Scarlet O’Hara is unlikeable but in such a realistic, interesting way. I’ve enjoyed rereading this tale of hardship and growing up, even when you don’t want to.
We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver – While certainly not uplifting, I did enjoy exploring this book again. It’s a hard read since it’s about a school shooter, but it delves into nature vs. nurture in such a fascinating way.
Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple – This is such a fun journey about both motherhood and childhood. There are some really zany characters that create a lot of humor in this one.
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens – Even though I read it for the first time just last year, I knew I wanted to reread this one. It was just as great the second time with its themes of love, loss, and murder as well as its rich setting.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – This is a magical realism romance that is so well-realized. I’ve read it multiple times now and look forward to each reread.
Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton – I’m a huge fan of this franchise, especially the movies. The book is just as fun (though some of the characters are drawn much differently). I always enjoy rereading this harrowing adventure.
What have you been reading during this coronavirus epidemic? Feel free to share your own recommendations in the comment section!
Thanks for reading,
I think that deep down most people wish that magic was real. Maybe that’s one of the reasons that I love magical realism as a genre. In magical realism, our world is infused with just a little bit of magic, which usually illuminates something about human nature. Recently, I read the magical realism novel The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender.
In this book, Rose Edelstein has a magical gift that is also kind of a curse: whenever she eats something, she can taste the emotions of the person who made the food. I think that the goodreads description sums up this book beautifully: “The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake is a luminous tale about the enormous difficulty of loving someone fully when you know too much about them.” As Rose learns more about her gift and those around her, she has to reckon with the fact that people often try to hide what they’re feeling for a reason.
This is definitely a character-driven book that focuses mostly on Rose and her family dynamic. As they navigate their lives, emotions, and disappointments, Rose uses her gift to truly empathize with others and learn more about being human.
I really enjoyed this book and thought it was unique in concept and had some truly beautiful prose. If you’re looking for something psychological and very character-driven, I think you should give this one a try!
Recently, in my MFA program, I took a magical realism literature course where I was required to read One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I had never read anything by Marquez, although he has been on my to-read list for quite some time. I found that reading this book was an absolutely magical experience and I’m so glad that I finally had a chance to explore this great author’s work.
Magical Realism is an interesting genre. It’s very prevalent in South American literature, although it pops up in a lot of cultures. The trademark of magical realism is in its own name: it is realistic (often literary) fiction that focuses on the real world, however it contains elements of magic. It often has a feeling of folklore and fable which makes it seem almost timeless. Other notable works of magical realism are The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende, Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami, and Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie.
One Hundred Years of Solitude takes place in the fictional land of Macondo, a place colonized by weary travelers who decide to stay and create their own haven. However, as time goes by, this seemingly perfect paradise becomes corrupted by the encroaching world around it. Macondo acts as a sort of “Garden of Eden” and there are many Biblical allusions in this book, another staple of South American literature. The large cast of characters intersect in their parable-like stories that show different forms of frailty in human nature. Peppered with visits by a God-like character who seems to know everything before it happens, this is a truly magical tale of humanity, magic, and the circle of life and culture. I definitely recommend it!
I’m not a huge science fiction/fantasy fan, but every so often I get in the mood for something other worldly! I decided to pick up Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines because I really enjoyed his Princess Series (a retelling of some classic fairy tales). I was so impressed by this book, and I can’t wait to read more in the series! It was incredibly unique and fast-paced.
Libriomancer is jam-packed with action and adventure, and it really sucked me in from the very beginning. I would classify this book as magical realism because it takes place in our world, but there are definite elements of magic. I loved the way that magic was set up in this book – certain types of magicians called Libriomancers can literally pull out items from books and use them. (Just think of how cool it would be to pull out the sorcerer’s stone from Harry Potter!) The structure of the magical world in Libriomancer was well-defined and developed: there is a secret society that governs how magic can be used (led by Gutenberg himself – who has gone missing). There are also vampires and nymphs and spiders that emit fire. A LOT happens here, but it all really works and was so entertaining.
The main character, Isaac Vainio, is a disgraced libriomancer who now catalogs magical tomes as a librarian instead of practicing magic. However, when a band of rogue vampires get him entangled in the mystery of where Gutenberg has gone, he must face his past and rediscover the magic within. He’s a great main character with many complexities. I enjoyed his personal, internal journey as well as the vivid, exciting plot. I would highly recommend this book to someone who loves magical elements and is looking for something plot-driven!
It’s very rare that I reread books. I just find that there are so many things I want to read that I often don’t make time to reread something. There are definitely exceptions to this like with the Harry Potter series which always helps me to relax and find an escape, but for the most part, I don’t often make time to reread things.
Another exception is the book A Discover of Witches by Deborah Harkness. I believe I have read this wonderful work of fantasy three times now, and I feel like something new stands out each time.
This book is essentially about a powerful witch who falls in love with a vampire. It’s sometimes marketed as a grown-up version of Twilight, which I suppose is fair in some ways, but I think that this book is so much more than a love story. Diana, the witch and main character, is a really interesting character and she grows a lot throughout the book and the trilogy. She is complicated because she seems to be simultaneously strong-willed and unsure of herself. She has very relatable fears and hopes. And while the love story is interesting, I find her discovery of herself and the journey of her coming to terms with herself to be an even more gripping aspect of the book.
While this is fantasy and has an amazing amount of world-building, I am so impressed at the other things contained in this book: vast descriptions of history and science (especially when it comes to genetics). This is a well-researched book that shows off Harkness’ prowess as a historian as well as her great imagination.
At 579 pages, it is quite long for a novel (although most fantasy novels do tend to be longer generally). There is a lot of description and the pace is quite slow. These are things that don’t bother me, but I think it is fair to mention them since I’m sure they will deter some readers. Overall, however, I think that it will be worth your time if you’re interested in the subject matter and want a character-driven magical realism book. Also, if you adore history, you’ll want to definitely continue on to the second book of the series Shadow of Night, which I thought was even better than this first installment.