Random musings from a "rabid" reader. The title comes from my admiration of John Updike and his Rabbit Angstrom series.When I read a review of a book I have not read, I only read enough to get a general idea of the content. If it sounds interesting, I make a note of the review, read the book, and only then do I go back and read the review completely. I intend these short musings to convey that spirit and idea to the readers of "RabbitReader."
Monday, December 22, 2014
Odd Books:Griffin and Sabine by Nick Bantock & The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami
An interesting sort of
books these days are those with something more than printed words on the
page.These books have nooks and crannies
for peeks into some secret worlds.Sometimes they have strange and bizarre art work.I am not talking about graphic novels.
Nick Bantock has
created a series of four books beginning with Griffin and Sabine.Griffin
receives a strange and beautifully decorated post card with an exotic postmark
from Sabine.Naturally intrigued, he
writes back and thus begins a correspondence every bit as strange, beautiful,
and exotic as the first post card.Some
pages have envelopes attached.Lifting
the flap reveals a folded letter.This
window into the mysterious Sabine made me feel as though I had eavesdropped on
a growing romance.
The story takes numerous twists and turns over the three volumes which
follow, including, Sabine’s Notebook, The
Gryphon, and The Golden Mean.They
all take the story on twists and turns around the globe with a quite mysterious
Haruki Murakami adds
to this genre with The Strange Library.This unusual volume has flaps which fold over
the top and bottom, and it only needs a wax seal to complete the strangeness of
this story.A child who loves books,
returns a few to the local library with the intention of borrowing several
others.Then a slightly strange and
scary man invites the boy to look at some interesting books he might like in
Room 107 in the basement of the library.The boy is locked in a room with four folio sized books about taxation
in the ottoman empire – a topic he inquired about for his next borrowings.The librarian tells him he must memorize all
four volumes, or he would suffer unspeakable pains.A friendly jailer visits him and fills in
some information, but he encourages the boy to memorize if her ever wants to
escape Room 107.The a mysterious,
ethereal young girl approaches and offers a means of escape.
Together these three
attempt to escape this nightmare.The
young boy who narrates the story frets about his mother who expects him home
for dinner and his pet starling.
The ghostly girl
delivers gourmet meals to the boy, and another weird character, the “Sheepman”
brings donuts for an afternoon snack.
librarian checks his returned unusual books – How to Build a Submarine and memoirs
of a Shepherd.The woman directs him
to the basement and room 107.In his
typical style, Murakami describes the strange librarian.“A little old man sat behind a little old
desk in the middle of the room.Tiny
black spots dotted his face like a swarm of flies.The old man was bald and wore thick
lenses.His baldness looked incomplete; he
had frizzy white hairs plastered against both sides of his head.It looked like a mountain after a big forest
fire. // ‘Welcome my boy, […] How may I be of assistance?’ […] ‘I want to learn
how taxes were collected in the ottoman Empire’” (Part 2, no pagination).
described as YA fiction, this tale seems appropriate for older children.All these books are wonderfully creative
excursions into an uncommon literary genre.They offer a pleasant afternoon of reading.5 stars