book sommelier

Son of the Book Sommelier (Part IV)

The Book Sommelier is back! Here are some recommended pairings for your delectation:

33503519Creatures of Will and Temper, by Molly Tanzer and What Should be Wild, by Julia Fine 

Even though they are quite different, I saw a common theme in these books. Humans, especially women, are trained away from sensuality—by which I mean giving freedom to their senses and seeking out pleasure or fully exploring their connections to the natural world. We are warned away from these joys with terrible consequences. In these two books, we see temptations and warnings both. At the end of them, we are left to recalibrate our own measure of how much freedom we should give ourselves.

Amatka, by Karin Tidbeck, and The Question of Redby Laksmi Pamuntjak

Both of these novels explore the idea of whether or not a name means destiny. Amatka is literal about this, The Question of Red more philosophical. I am fascinated by language. It’s the idea that random collections of syllables can contain so much meaning only because the speakers of a particular language decided that they should. Reading the pair of these books gave me a chance to see what might happen when too much meaning is invested in those random syllables. This paragraph might sound too academic, but these two books are great reads.

87280I Met a Traveller in an Antique Land, by Connie Willis, and Too Loud a Solitude, by Bohumil Hrabal

Being a terminal bookworm and a librarian, I am drawn to books about books. These two books definitely fit the bill because they book look at what happens when there are too many books. (Fellow bookworms, stop clutching your pearls! This does happen.) In I Met a Traveller in an Antique Land, booky people try desperately to save the last copies of books before they’re lost forever. In Too Loud a Solitude, a baler struggles against the tide of discarded books. On the one hand, it’s true that libraries have no place for books that are damaged, obsolete, or outside of the mission of the library. On the other, it’s wrenching to get rid of books. Throwing away a book feels like vandalism. These two books share a passion for the written word and a quixotic quest to save what others have tossed out.

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