Day four of Book Blogger Appreciation Week is here.
The BBAW Content Development Team is proud to announce our theme for 2010: A Treasure Chest of Infinite Books and Infinite Blogs. You’ll probably be stuffing your google reader with the new blogs you discover next week and piling onto your bookshelves with all the great books we’ll be talking about!
Sure we’ve all read about Freedom and Mockingjay but we likely have a book we wish would get more attention by book bloggers, whether it’s a forgotten classic or under marketed contemporary fiction. This is your chance to tell the community why they should consider reading this book!
I had trouble with this one, because I’ve been so much current young adult fiction recently, which gets reviewed everywhere. The book that finally popped into my mind was Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn. According to Amazon, the novel was originally published as Ella Minnow Pea: A Progressively Lipogrammatic Epistolary Fable in Oct. 2001. Understandably, I’m very greatful that the subtitle was later shortened to Ella Minnow Pea: A Novel in Letters.
The book tells the story of Ella, who lives on the island of Nollop, located off the coast of South Carolina and home to the writer of “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.” The whole island idolizes this legacy, so when the letters from the sentence begin to fall off a statue containing the sentence, the citizens take it as a sign that they should no longer use the letters. That’s inconvienent in the beginning with one or two letters, but it becomes downright impossible as more letters fall off the statue. The government begins to police the community, banishing those who use words containing those letters.
It’s a thought-provoking novel to say the least. I first came across this book in high school as required reading, and was impressed with the author’s conveyance of ideas. In writing that starts out sounding like stilted, very formal English and degrades into a version of text speak as the letters fall. Readers are forced to interpret these intentional mispellings and alternative phonetic spellings, which might hamper some but it’s a welcome and challenging brain teaser for others. Encouraging discussion about a multitude of topics, the book addresses the issue of government control and censorship, as well as blind acceptance by the masses.
Another great series with off the wall humor and some light-hearted religion is the Mitford Series by Jan Karon. Beginning with At Home in Mitford, the series follow Father Tim, an Episcopalian rector who lives in a small North Carolina town. (And no, I didn’t intentionally set out to recommend two books that both take place in the Carolinas, that’s just how cool I am.) In this town of excentric characters, Father Tim finds himself caring for three new members; an overly-friendly dog who only responds to quoted scripture, a young boy and a children’s book author who moves in next door. While some people might not see this as very eventful, I always encourage them to give it a try. Picture Gilmore Girls town charm mixed in with Asop fable type lessons in life and love. The religion and lessons aren’t hammered over your head though, so for those of you who aren’t religious, I wouldn’t worry too much. There’s about a dozen books in the series now, with a new one being published October 19th according to Jan Karon’s website.
Both of these are older books that I think everyone — maybe even myself — need to revisit.