Books build worlds by making rules, but what turns me off so much fantasy/supernatural fiction is that even after eschewing "real life rules" for their own shiny new ones, these books seem to think that they're then obligated to follow those rules all the time, to the letter. No diverging, no slippage, no chaos. And that's the part that's just not realistic about fantasy, frankly. In what world are the rules infallible?
ALL MY PUNY SORROWS by Miriam Toews is delightfully written, skillfully characterized, and it will hug and hold you tight. And then it will rip your heart out. But eventually you'll laugh about that together, too.
I just finished reading Elif Batuman's The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them, on the recommendation of several of my Russian literature teachers/professors several years ago. Now that I've finally read it, I'd like to recommend it to everyone I know, in the hope that in the next several years, … Continue reading Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them
Palumbi, Stephen R. and Anthony R. Palumbi, The Extreme Life of the Sea. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2014. Hardcover. $27.95 (US). Recently, I've been looking at the interstices between science and literature (and the humanities and social sciences at large). The Extreme Life of the Sea was written in partnership between marine scientist Stephen R. … Continue reading Review: The Extreme Life of the Sea, Stephen R. Palumbi and Anthony R. Palumbi (2014)