Tuesday, January 19, 2016

10 Genre-Bending Books

More and more, books are crossing genres in difficult to categorize, yet very satisfying, ways.  Here are the top 10 best genre-bending books according to a recent article by Publishers Weekly. (Click on the titles to request a copy.)

If on a winter's night a traveler by Italo Calvino
"The plot of the book is that “you,” the reader, are reading Calvino’s new book when you discover your copy is incomplete. From here, the novel is split into two parts. Half the novel tells the story of you trying to solve a series of literary mysteries, while the interstitials each contain fictional first chapters of different novels, each in a different style from Western to mystery. The genres of these chapters bleed into the main plot, and all the pieces combine to form something exceedingly rare: a truly unique read."

Inter Ice Age 4 by Kobo Abe
"Kobo Abe’s 1950s novel about supercomputers, genetic engineering, and post-apocalyptic life feels amazingly current in 2015. In Japan, it is known as the first Japanese science fiction novel...But the novel quickly turns into a mystery as Katsumi is forced to shift away from predicting political events, and instead tries to predict the futures of a single person… who is suddenly murdered."

The Wilds by Julia Elliott
"[T]he stories here are simultaneously “literary” and “genre,” mixing gorgeous prose and complex characters with inventive takes on SF, fantasy, and horror tropes. What ties the collection together are the through-lines of Southern Gothic prose and social satire. If you’ve ever wondered what the gene-splicing of William Faulkner and Ursula K. Le Guin would produce, check out The Wilds."

Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami
"The first half of the book, “Hardboiled Wonderland,” is a cyberpunk science fiction story narrated by a “Calcutec” human data processor. The other half, “End of the World,” takes place in a Kafkaesque fantasy realm where dreams can be read in glowing unicorn skulls. Explaining how these two worlds relate would be too much of a spoiler, so you’ll have to read it yourself to find out."

Autobiography of Red by Anne Carson
"Carson’s starting points are fragments of a poem by the ancient Greek poet Stesichorus—which Carson translates in the text—concerning the winged red monster Geryon who Herakles (Hercules) kills during his famous labors. The book soon switches from scholarly study to a modern retelling of the myth with Geryon and Herakles becoming classmates and lovers in the modern day."

Gun, with Occasional Music by Johnathan Lethem
"Conrad Metcalf is hired by a man who says he is being framed for murder. The case leads Metcalf into a world of memory-suppressing drugs, genetically-engineered mob muscle, and Karma debit cards."

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
"Everyone knows here famous short story “The Lottery,” but far too few have read the truly amazing We Have Always Lived in the Castle. Part (anti) coming-of-age horror story, part gothic murder mystery, this novel also has one of the most compelling protagonists in American literature in the incomparable Merricat Blackwood."

The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
"On its surface, The Martian Chronicles seems to fit squarely in the science fiction camp. But the loosely connected novel—really separate short stories that were later combined—has none of the world-building or serious examination of technology that we normally think of as SF...Instead, the underlying story of humanity’s invasion and colonization of Mars allows Bradbury to tell a wide variety of tales."

Magic for Beginners by Kelly Link
"This collection is indeed magical, mixing in vengeful witches, convenience-store zombies, time travel, haunted appliances, and more into a singular bewitching brew."

2666 by Robert Bolano
"Bolaño’s epic 900-page masterpiece is a dark but beautiful vortex that seems to suck all of the great Chilean author’s interests inside it. The novel is divided into five parts, each with different cast of (sometimes overlapping) characters. The first part examines the love triangle of three academics who are obsessed with the same reclusive author...By part five, the novel has become a nightmarish catalogue of human horror—part journalism and part Cormac McCarthy—describing the murder of countless women in Juárez, Mexico."

Happy reading!

Posted by Kyla Waltermire, Branch Manager-Collinsville