Sunday, January 31, 2010

Fiction February Part I: Contest & A Theory of All Things

I miss my first reading love: fiction, short stories, novels. Lately, I have been consumed by so much non-fiction reading that I had forgotten what it was like to get absorbed in a good tale. I want to rediscover the novel and become enmeshed in a fictional world. I am dedicating the month of February to several works of fiction that have caught my eye over the past few weeks.

Fiction varies widely in interesting content for me, so I rarely pick up a novel without a strong recommendation, so I would love to hear your best fictional reads for the month of February. If you recommend a good work of fiction to me in February, I'll put your name in a drawing for a free book from EsmereldasBookthing.

Early Reviewers put me back on their mailing list this month with a peek at A Theory of all Things by Peggy Leon.

Ms Leon has spun a compelling tale of 5 siblings who have experienced great tragedy and relates how they continue to grow and thrive and heal in spite of many assaults on their family. Every chapter is from a different sibling's point of view with the bulk of the narrative in the head of eldest brother Mark who is a scientist.

Mark creates metaphors for everything in his life to physics and in particular the big bang theory (hence the title). The science metaphors are quite adept and beautifully wrought. I found myself reading and re-reading passages about quarks and entropy and the big bang theory so that I could fully appreciate the languge the author used to describe the Bennet family's craziness and Mark's insecurities.

Marks' sisters all get turns at telling thier part of the family saga which involves taking care of an aging parent who suffers from altzheimers, maternal abandonment, suicide, pregnancy, homelessness, and virginity.

The characters are lovable--people you would want to know; the plot, although parts are stretched a bit, is a page turner. I definitely cared what happened to these people and the writing gave me reason to sigh every page or two. In additional to beautifully rendered metaphors about science, art is given careful examination as each of the other characters sculpts or creates or photographs. Art and science became equal expressions of these siblings' souls.

I don't want to give too much away because the unfolding plot and twists and turns of each character as they come togther for a family reuion (or reckoning) is the best part of this gentle and good humored novel. I highly recommend this new book which will be published this month by The Permanent Press.


Scott S. Semester said...

I just started reading it, so I can't really vouch for this recommendation, but a couple weeks ago I picked up "The Mysterious Benedict Society" by Trenton Lee Stewart from our local mystery bookseller (who is, sadly, closing his doors after almost 7 years).

The book is pretty thick, but accessibly written -- probably targeted at the 5th to 7th or 8th grade reader, I'd guess. But I'm having fun with it, too! :) You and your young reader might want to give it a go.

Esmerelda said...


I saw on your blog the news about the bookstore and I read their blog. There is always a deep sad sigh in the universe when a bookstore closes.