Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Time-Traveler's Reading List

I remember writing an essay in Secondary school about whether I'd want a short exciting life or a long boring one if I had the choice. Short and exciting was definitely enticing, but then I thought of all the short exciting lives I could enjoy vicariously during long boring years. As a reader and writer I could live and die over and over again in a million different worlds and cities and eras. What more could a teenager dream? And so I chose long and boring (though I have to admit, it's been more like long and exciting on many an occasion). And here, in my book reviews, are those dream-lives, written-lives, history-lives and more--a time-traveler's reading list perhaps?

Starting in pre-history, I've been reading The Dictionary of Biblical Symbolism, by Stan I. S. Law, a fascinating book that combines dictionary with application, and views the Bible's original words through lenses of symbolism. Enjoy your deep intense studies with an intense 5-star cup of coffee. And keep going back to the Bible itself to find more.

Next, in the 1600s, the Astrologer, by Scott G. F. Bailey, imagines the world of the Court of Denmark as science, technology and political intrigue intertwine with myth and mystery. The narrator's inept attempts to avenge his master's possible murder just lead to more and more trouble till castles burn and peasants revolt while Swiss Guards sweep the eaves. It's a curious tale, with a curious blend of truths perceived and clouded, best enjoyed with a nicely complex 4-star cup of coffee.

Moving forwards to the 1800s, the next book on my list is a beautifully illustrated children's book, Custer's Last Battle, by Paul Goble. Definitely the sort of book that becomes a family treasure, this tells the tale of a famous battle through the eyes of a fictional Oglala Indian, treating friend and foe with respect and honor, and offering a pleasing alternative to over-simplified imaginings. Enjoy it with a rich, elegant and complex 4-star coffee--and yes, I do believe six-year-olds will enjoy its elegantly complex lessons just as much as their grandparents.

And now we reach the mid 1900s, and  Aaron Paul Lazar's Don't Let the Wind Catch You. Combining coming-of-age story with intriguing mystery, and adding the author's trademark touch of thought-provoking human-kindness, this is a great standalone slightly-paranormal mystery for middle grade and up. APL has written lots of adult mysteries starring Gus LeGarde, but it's fun to meet the younger version of his character, and I'm hoping there'll be plenty more in both iterations of this series. Enjoy with some well-balanced, smooth-flavored 3-star coffee.

Then there are some short stories for the present day in Love Advice for the Dog of Action, and other funny stories, by Oleg Medvedkov, which bring Monty-Pythonesque illogic into the realm of lunch-break ebooks. Enjoy these short sharp thoroughly confusing off-beat tales with some 2-star lively easy-drinking coffee.

Finally, heading off to a somewhat dystopian future where greyskins chomp on the remnants of humanity and a young teen braves all to save what's left of her family, Out of Darkness: Book 1 of the Starborn Saga, by Jason D. Morrow, introduces some interesting twists on teen sci fi, fantasy, and zombie fare. The story's fairly complete in itself, and introduces some fascinating ideas to build a series on. Enjoy this lively tale with a lively 2-star cup of coffee.

1 comment:

CA Heaven said...

A boring life is impossible when there are plenty of good books >:)

Cold As Heaven