It’s Monday and I have a bit of a by-week this week, which is perfect, since two books by my go-to authors come out this week. Part of why I’ve been able to blog for so long is that my literary side feels like such an indulgence, such a pleasure and a treat.
(Over the summer, I read How Pleasure Works: The New Science of Why We Like What We Like, and Paul Bloom spends a lot of time discussing why we love fiction and storytelling. Bloom’s conclusions were more conversational than substantive, but I enjoyed them, and they seemed relatively on point.)
As I’ve mentioned, I’ve been avoiding fiction because it feels to visceral, and this year has made me much more defensive about the experiences — vicarious or not — that I open myself up to.
But I listen to a Maggie Stiefvater book whenever I need a good audiobook, and I laud her as my favorite writer. And I’ve reread Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus almost every year since I first read it. It sounds hyperbolic, but THAT read is the closest that any other book has given me to the feeling of reading Harry Potter for the first time as a kid. Rich, distinctive, and completely magical.
I’m trying not to put too much pressure on her next release, but it’s been a long time coming. In full transparency, I haven’t even read the description of The Starless Sea, but I’ve already preordered it.
I’m not a huge audiobook person, because I can read more quickly than I can listen, and I usually prefer music on walks or drives. But when I find one I love, I’m all in. At BEA in 2016, I remember talking with Maggie at a Scholastic function about her agent’s pursuit of Will Patton to narrate the audio, and the glee when they finally got him. This is an audiobook series that would not work half as well without his raspy, characteristic narration — honestly the closest that an audiobook will ever get to perfect for me. I associate The Raven Cycle on audio with rainy evenings at camp, working on the ceramics wheel after the kids have gone to bed. Or early, foggy mornings. Driving with wet hair and the sun dimming and pad Thai radiating heat from a takeout bag, on my way to a mountain overlook. So much LOVE.
I wasn’t particularly happy with the ending of The Raven King, but like I said, it’s the closest that any book series will ever come to perfect in my head for what I want from a particular atmosphere. So the thought of having another read to savor — particularly as we enter a tired season of finals and daylight savings and general dampened spirits — is exactly the pick-me-up I need to make it through the rest of the fall.
So, without further ado, here are the two books coming out today that have me thrilled.
THE BOOKS COMING OUT TODAY!
Novel: Call Down the Hawk by Maggie Stiefvater | Goodreads
Release Date: November 5, 2019
The dreamers walk among us . . . and so do the dreamed. Those who dream cannot stop dreaming – they can only try to control it. Those who are dreamed cannot have their own lives – they will sleep forever if their dreamers die.
And then there are those who are drawn to the dreamers. To use them. To trap them. To kill them before their dreams destroy us all.
Ronan Lynch is a dreamer. He can pull both curiosities and catastrophes out of his dreams and into his compromised reality.
Jordan Hennessy is a thief. The closer she comes to the dream object she is after, the more inextricably she becomes tied to it.
Carmen Farooq-Lane is a hunter. Her brother was a dreamer . . . and a killer. She has seen what dreaming can do to a person. And she has seen the damage that dreamers can do. But that is nothing compared to the destruction that is about to be unleashed. . . .
I have no doubt that the hardcover format is lovely, but I HIGHLY recommend the audio version by Will Patton. Companion series give me a small twinge of nerves — because I’m sure we’ll see cameos, but I hope it has equally as much substance and vitality as the original series — but I’m excited. If only to get to listen to Will Patton’s voice for another 11+ hours.
Novel: The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern | Goodreads
Release Date: November 5, 2019
Publisher: Doubleday Books
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Night Circus, a timeless love story set in a secret underground world--a place of pirates, painters, lovers, liars, and ships that sail upon a starless sea.
Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a graduate student in Vermont when he discovers a mysterious book hidden in the stacks. As he turns the pages, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, key collectors, and nameless acolytes, he reads something strange: a story from his own childhood. Bewildered by this inexplicable book and desperate to make sense of how his own life came to be recorded, Zachary uncovers a series of clues--a bee, a key, and a sword--that lead him to a masquerade party in New York, to a secret club, and through a doorway to an ancient library, hidden far below the surface of the earth.
What Zachary finds in this curious place is more than just a buried home for books and their guardians--it is a place of lost cities and seas, lovers who pass notes under doors and across time, and of stories whispered by the dead. Zachary learns of those who have sacrificed much to protect this realm, relinquishing their sight and their tongues to preserve this archive, and also those who are intent on its destruction.
Together with Mirabel, a fierce, pink-haired protector of the place, and Dorian, a handsome, barefoot man with shifting alliances, Zachary travels the twisting tunnels, darkened stairwells, crowded ballrooms, and sweetly-soaked shores of this magical world, discovering his purpose--in both the mysterious book and in his own life.
Autumn feels like a time for a vivid fantasy, one rooted in history and detail. A tapestry of sorts, full of colorful scenes and intrigue. I’m also curious to know what’s characteristic of Morgenstern’s voice versus what’s exclusive to her first novel.