Adult, Bibliomancy For Beginners, Books

Bibliomancy For Beginners: Ep. 4. Magic for Beginners by Kelly Link


If you don’t know what Bibliomancy For Beginners is then what are you doing with your life?  Gretchen, from My Life is a Notebook and I along with two of our friends from college have weekly bookclub which meets Tuesdays at 8:30 EST and we talk about a book we all read that week.

This week was Taylor’s choice, Magic for Beginners by Kelly Link and it was a collection of short stories.

Title: Magic for Beginners
Author: Kelly Link
Publisher: Mariner Books
Genre: Short Stories, Fantasy, Adult
Page #: 297

I’m not really sure how to do a review for this book since within itself it holds several different stories, as an anthology of short stories is want to do.  I think I’ll talk about what I liked about this book or didn’t like and give a brief synopsis of my favorite stories.

While Taylor and I liked these stories very much it appeared as though our fellow cohosts were not such big fans.  I felt while reading this book that it was a writer’s playground where Kelly Link was trying to push her literary boundaries and do new things with her stories; like write a story in a story in a story in a story or one written entirely in question answer format.  I really appreciated this fact.  While throughout the book I also felt that the characters or the setting were underplayed to the point where they were no really memorable and used more as a vehicle with which to produce a story or new technique.  This was what our cohosts found disheartening.  They wanted to fall in love with characters and continue on with them for a novel not have a snippet of a day in the life.

If you want some really interesting stories that will have you thinking about the world and the way we view it then this is the book for you.  All of the stories have a unique view on the world that make you question the way you think.  They aren’t outrageous characters, they were all real people and while some were put into very strange situation they were definitely relatable if nothing else.  The way the Link describes their thought processes are extremely honest and unique.  One character is able to match the people she is closest to in her life to a paint color.  Humans naturally make connections and while you may not thing of your Aunt Netty as Burnt Pumpkin it might be the perfect thing to describe her as.  The views that you get by stepping into these characters shoes are brilliant.

Now the story for which this book gets its namesake is the strongest within and it is also one of the last you will read, that is if you read it straight through like I did.  For me the sequence of stories really built in their ingenuity and in their success in what they set out to do.  The namesake had an interesting concept set in a world that is basically our own.  It revolves around a group of friends who idolize a t.v. show with no set time or channel and doesn’t even use the same actor to play the same character show to show.  While two of my favorite characters that she created in all of the book make a very brief cameo at the end of the story (which I was extremely sad about) it is also one that has you wonder about how we become invested in the media we consume.  I know that I become obsessed with things like a TV show or a book for periods of time.

Over all I really enjoyed this book, and while it may just be the way I read and not the way every one reads or the things I value in a novel it was something I loved the whole way through.  If you want something light and amusing give it a go.

If you want to here what all of my friends had to say about the book and some of its stories watch the video here, but be forewarned there will be spoilers … and excessive laughing (at least on my part).

I hope you have a great day, and when this goes up I will be reading in a car, though I’m sure the Pied Piper will be calling me.


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