Into the Book

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General Fiction


  1. Silence is the most well-known novel by Japanese writer Shūsaku Endō. As a Catholic, Endō tells the story of Portuguese missionaries, on a mission to Japan during the time of persecution. Fathers Rodrigues and Garrpe have gone to Japan to find out if Japanese Christians still exist, to convert new believers, and to learn what has happened to Father Ferreira, a well-known priest who is said to have apostastized and has disappeared. Endō’s novel attacks questions of faith, trust, and manages to show a deep personal conflict in the life of Father Rodrigues. Read on for more (some spoilers): (more…)

  2. Anthony Marra’s first novel, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, is so full of twists that it’s a difficult story to pin down. How many other novelists have written a novel that is about wartime Chechnya, jumps through twenty years of time, and features seven or eight main characters? Not too many that I have seen. Marra’s strange blend of omniscient storytelling and chronological looseness plays with a beautiful writing style and makes A Constellation of Vital Phenomena one of the best books I have read this year. (more…)

  3. I picked up At the Back of the North Wind at Half Price Books for 3 reasons: 1) It’s George MacDonald 2) Andrew Peterson’s house is named after this book (North Wind Manor), and 3) the book is simply gorgeous in the Everyman’s Classics edition. Those are reasons of varying solidity, but here are my reasons for why you also should pick up this book. Read on for more: (more…)

  4. Robert Heinlein’s Friday is a mixed bag of sci-fi tropes, missed opportunities, and casual vulgarity all sprinkled into a neat dystopian landscape filled with backstabbing, wars, and secrets. It’s a book that’s deeply conflicting: on the one hand, Heinlein has constructed a great, immersive world and asked some great questions of well-developed characters. On the other hand, there’s a lot that’s not worth reading and Heinlein often doesn’t answer his own questions. Friday is a circuitous book that winds around before finally resolving, and at the end of it all, I still can’t say if it was worth my time. Read on for more: (more…)

  5. The Shadow of the Wind is Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s first adult novel, telling the story of Daniel, a young man tasked with finding out the terrible secrets behind the Spanish writer Julián Carax. In a similar vein to Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Umberto Eco, Zafón has produced an immense Gothic novel. Filled with suspense, horror, and surprising wonder, The Shadow of the Wind is a phenomenal piece of writing that fully immerses you in its world (more…)

  6. There aren’t too many names in sci-fi bigger than Frank Herbert. Dune is his 1965 classic, a landmark in science fiction, and a ground-breaker for many novels to come. I may be fifty years late to the party, but even so, I enjoyed Herbert’s masterpiece, and found Dune a compelling story of humanity, loss, and prophecy that makes for the best sci-fi I’ve ever read. Read on for more: (more…)

  7. In an effort to chip away at my ever-growing “To Read” list, I sat down the other day and picked up The Lightning Thief, first book in the series of “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” by Rick Riordan. I wasn’t really sure what to expect. After all, elementary kids these days are crazy about Percy Jackson, which can either mean it’s a really great book, or a really lousy one. As I read through the book almost in one sitting (with a good night’s sleep about halfway through), I found that I was rather surprised by the book. It was a fun and engaging read, and I see why kids love it! But there were many parts that made me question whether The Lightning Thief is for everyone. (more…)

  8. The Paris Wife caught my eye several times at the bookstore before I took the plunge. Because it tells the story of Ernest Hemingway’s first marriage, I was worried that the novel would be knockoff Hemingway, stripped to the marrow but without any of the vitality that fills his classics. However, Paula McLain has written an excellent and engaging story; one that stands apart from Hemingway yet clearly is saturated in his writing. (more…)

  9. Before he became a father of the Christian Church, Augustine of Hippo loved a woman whose name has been lost to history. This is her story.

    This is the hook for Suzanne M. Wolfe’s latest book, The Confessions of X. No, this isn’t an erotic novel, despite the blood-red cover and giant ‘X’ in the title, but the subject matter is pretty far out of my comfort zone. I’m the type who’s more likely to read Augustine’s Confessions than a novel extrapolated from them. But how did Naiad’s story stack up? Read on for more: (more…)

  10. It’s hard to be a hustler. Animals these days aren’t as gullible as they used to be, and any fools around are quickly snapped up by other con-artists, of which there are far too many, if you ask me. Of course, that doesn’t stop Thimblerig from trying to find the fool among the many. And he’s good at it. So when Thimblerig has a nightmare about the coming apocalypse, he doesn’t chalk it up to bad figs. He sets a plan into motion to swindle as many believers as possible. Is it his fault that they think the vision comes from the almighty Unicorn to save them from the coming worldwide flood? Nope. All Thimblerig cares about is getting these suckers out into the middle of nowhere and then ditching them so he can start enjoying the good life. But, as his lies (and followers) grow, Thimblerig begins to wonder if his nightmare wasn’t something more after all. Unfortunately, before he can decide, he is faced with  a bigger problem: he has found himself in the middle of the Wild Dogs’ annual hunt, and believers are at the top of the menu. (more…)