Quick Pitch: Following a difficult breakup, a young woman seeks a refreshing vacation, but ends up caring for her best friend’s son on a wild road trip across Iceland.
Thoughts: I’m so glad this novel was compared to Wes Anderson’s films, otherwise I may have confused some of the dry, dark humor for poor translation. Instead, I was totally charmed by the offbeat situations, quick pace and unexpected revelations. Anyone who loves a good, quirky read with a heartfelt center will be more than happy with Butterflies in November.
Quick Pitch: A comprehensive look at the life of Jesus through both the lens of history and the stories written in the Gospels.
Thoughts: As a history geek, I’ve often found myself much more interested in the historical paths taken by religious figures than the beliefs of individual religions. Reza Aslan does an amazing job painting a historical picture of Jesus and placing the Gospels in context with everything happening in the region at the time. Without ever offending, Aslan points out inaccuracies in the Gospels by aligning them with history and allowing a new, revealing image to emerge.
Quick Pitch: Following a disfiguring injury, Sean Phillips develops detailed game worlds that others begin to inhabit and eventually carry into reality.
Thoughts: This is the first time in years that I’ve gone into a book almost completely blind, with little idea about the general storyline and it totally worked. I think having someone try to explain the strange roleplaying game at the novel’s center could have unfairly put me off, especially when this book is about so much more. Darnielle writes with beautiful simplicity and allows his readers to feel every inch of his characters’ emotions. Quick and compact, the novel feels a bit like a fever dream in the best way possible.
Quick Recommendation: I couldn’t help thinking about Ready Player One while reading this, though it’s quite different. If you loved Ready Player One for its gaming bits, but wished it had a little more literary meat, run, run, run and get this book.