A couple of weeks ago, my favourite (read: only) pair of earbuds stopped working. Of course, being the lazy bastard I am, I have neglected to replace them – if not for the fact that I’d have to go through the laborious process of sifting through receipts, warranties and generally taking time out of my daily nap to do so, I thought it’d be a good time to jump back to reading.
So far, as per some suggestions, I’ve finished Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers, and recently finished Neil Gaiman’s novel, “The Ocean at the End of the Lane”. Gaiman is famous for such works (which have also been adapted into films), such as Coraline and Stardust. (Honestly, check his WiKi – he’s quite profilic).
The novel is a fantasy novel, a man’s recap of a series of events, growing up in a small English town. For those who’ve read Madeline L’Engels’ “A Wrinkle In Time”, it has almost the same atmosphere; a fantasy rooted into an otherly understanding of the real world. The protagonist is forced to deal with a malevolent presence, who worms her way into his life, upsetting the fabric of his family using manipulation, cruelty and abuse. There’s a brief mention of an extramarital affair and also a sequence of physical abuse, and what follows is a child’s disillusionment and loss of innocence that happens after such events.
Gaiman does something that I found always fascinating with the genre of fantasy – the novel’s use of a supernatural antagonist as the impetus to explain certain characters’ motivations echoes myths’ use of fantastical or supernatural events to explain human behaviour.
Because sometimes, human behaviour is just so inexplainable. It’s irrational, it’s illogical, and we are motivated by the strangest of things. And besides the odd pitcher or two of beer, it often does seem some supernatural element is the only way to explain why we do things the way we do.
So, for my next read, I’m branching over to the other side of the spectrum – while this book opened up my thoughts on how irrationality and illogical motivations can have a very fantastical motivation, I’m reading “How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking“, Jordan Ellenberg’s explanation into how math has helped us logically solve everyday problems, using some very famous examples.
I also have these two novels in my reach:
- Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (I can’t escape this book anywhere!)
- Mr. Penumbra’s 24‑Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan (described on Wikipedia as a fantasy & mystery “looking at the modern conflict and transition between new technology (electronic) and old (print books).”
What are you reading?