Thursday, March 10, 2011
Thursday, March 3, 2011
So I thought I should start this little blog out with the book that somehow inspired me to write about what I was reading. Why this book? I don't know, it was just so good. I've read several of Catherynne M. Valente's books now, and I've thoroughly enjoyed them all. No one else writes like she does. They really don't. Why isn't everyone reading her books already?
Catherynne's writing is so lush and full of imagery, but unlike some authours, the imagery is never distracting. Instead, it leads you down a mysterious and exotic path to wonders brand new and myths that seem ancient, and lurk in your mind's eye for a long time afterward. You can taste these words.
"The Habitation of the Blessed" is similar to "The Orphan's Tales" (some of her previous works) in structure, in that it is several stories interwoven together into one beautiful, soul-stirring tapestry. The short synopsis (written quickly by me) is:
It's about a monk in the 16th century, named Brother Hiob, who is travelling East to find the Kingdom of Prester John. He comes across a strange town, where he is offered the chance to pluck three fruits from a mysterious tree that grows books. The books he chooses reveal the story of Prester John from three different viewpoints, including Prester John's own, and are each full of amazing stories. Oh, the places these stories go... But the books themselves are just as bewitching...
Read this book! Take this journey! It's like a 32-fruit salad - it will keep exploding on your tongue. There were times, reading this book, when I felt like she had just created a new language - one that speaks directly to our sense of beauty and mystery - it's just too good to be using the same words that the rest of us use. (Although when was the last time you heard the word "Dirge"? That's a word that I would really like to use more often. It's a gem!)
Read this if you like: Visual Poetry, Myths, Letting your imagination explore, Playing with language
Don't read it if: You don't like anyone messing with History or Jesus
While this is a complete story (or stories) on it's own, it is only Volume One. I'm definitely looking forward to the next one! (couldn't you tell?)
Up Next: Of Mist and Bees