Two Odd, But Good Books

I’m home with a migraine today and I’m medicated enough to be able to look at the computer screen right now, so I thought I’d ACTUALLY write a couple of reviews. I know…haven’t done that in ages. I finished two books last night that I didn’t completely understand, but still enjoyed despite that. They were Light Boxes by Shane Jones and H Day by Renee French.

Light Boxes is full of magical realism and it’s short enough that I could probably read it a couple more times to really grasp it. I know some people that would relate to this book fairly well :p It’s premise is that February has taken hold of a town and won’t let go of it’s grip. All signs of new growth and warmth have disappeared from the town and flight has been banned. Birds can’t fly, balloons can’t sail, the town is a big blanket of snow and children and joy are disappearing from the town. It’s basically neverending, depressing winter.

But the townspeople decide to revolt against February by forming things like light boxes that spread warmth and setting things ablaze for warmth. But February doesn’t go down without a fight. February himself is depressed and doesn’t always know why he’s keeping the town in eternal depression and winter, but he does, nonetheless. I’m afraid this is as much as I can describe the novel to you :/ Great job, huh? lol.

It’s written very well…one of the more unique styles that I’ve ever seen a book have. It’s broken into very short chapters, sometimes a page long, switching between the view of February, town members, lists, and the main character, Thaddeus’ daughter. It’s just….hard to follow sometimes. I caught myself thinking “what?” at times…but somehow still really enjoyed and appreciated the story and the style of the book. It’s filled with moments of quotes that are just pure beauty and imagery that takes your breath away. Like I said…may just need another reading or two.

The other book I read was equally confusing, but at the same time, I could relate to it. It’s a wordless graphic novel called H Day, written by Renee French. It’s best described as an abstract look at migraines and ant infestations. Yes….you read that right. I followed the migraine path more, possibly because I can relate to it. The artist and storyteller BEAUTIFULLY illustrates her struggles with migraines and her struggles with argentine ant infestations on opposite pages…telling two stories at once that blend together to literally form a feeling of panic, inundation, beauty and chaos as you “read” it.

The art in this book was absolutely amazing. The migraine story line resembled (at least to me) the artwork that accompanies Radiohead’s albums. I just loved it. And I thought it captured the feeling of migraines perfectly as we see a faceless man’s head being manipulated, pulled, prodded and tied as the story progresses. I felt Renee’s pain.

The ant story was a bit more confusing…you certainly get the feeling of a takeover…an army launching it’s campaign, as you follow the story line. And the art was just stunning. It actually reminded me quite a bit of Shaun Tan’s art work.

Yeah…maybe I should stay away from reviewing books while I have a migraine :p But this was definitely worth the read and it’s a little book that I’d love to have on my coffee table for people to flip through. Gorgeous stuff. Ok…I’m going to shut up now :/

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13 Responses

  1. Yay! An actual post! Glad to see it. 🙂 Very different books there…

  2. I enjoy quirky books so like the sound of Light Boxes. And that cover is amazing…

  3. Ants and migranes? It does sound odd. But you’ve got me curious now. We once had an ant army march into our kitchen, it was horror trying to convince them to desert the path!

  4. Thank you very much for the review of ‘Light Boxes’. It sounds fascinating but it isn’t the sort of book that I’d have come across had it not been for this. Onto the ever increasing wishlist it goes.

  5. no wonder you have a migraine. I can’t swear to it but those books might give me one if i didn’t already have one… too depressing for me.

    I agree with Kelly.. hooray a post! aside from commenting in tumblr I am giving it up. my pics look good in it but there just too many of the ‘same thing” having twitter, and tumblr and my blog.. and the blog will always win hands down. You do realize you can have short posts on your blog right? They don’t have to be long! And I think many think when it’s short it belongs in tumblr…but you loose many who aren’t into tumblr and if they are as I know you see… it’s in tumblr AND twitter. and then there’s facebook for me. *groan* I put very little into fb but I read much and found people I wouldn’t have in a blog so I guess it stays . oh dear, sorry for the soapbox.

  6. Both of these sound wonderful! And I’m thrilled to see a post. 😀

    But I’m not thrilled about your migraine; boo to that. I hope it’s gone now, and if it’s not, I’m sending healing thoughts your way.

  7. Haha, I love it when I only half *get* the book but it still affects me. 🙂

  8. The premise of Light Boxes sounds deliciously creepy. I like it 😀

    Hope you’re feeling better today!

  9. I really enjoyed Light Boxes when I read it. But you’re right there’s definitely some ‘Huh?’ moments. 😉

  10. I hope your migraine goes away and stay gone! Those things are horrible. Light Boxes sounds amazing! I’m definitely adding it to my tbr list. Fingers crossed that my library has it.

  11. A post! Yay! The migraine . . . Boo. Feel better, Chris!!!

  12. 2 gorgeous book covers, I’ve added them both to my amazon wishlist. Hope you’re feeling better today

  13. I really should give Light Boxes another try. I picked it up last year, read about half of it, and was feeling so “meh” about it that I moved on to something else. It is such a cool looking little bit that I wanted..and still want to…love it. I shouldn’t judge it until I’ve read the whole thing. Which isn’t a great commitment, it is not a long book, after all.

    Hope you are feeling better today!

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