April 02, 2003
Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman

Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman: this is the second time that I’ve read this book and it’s still as wonderful as the first time I read it about three years ago.

Practical Magic is set in our time and in our world, but also in a world where a lover’s passion is so strong that butter melts in their house. Where the ticking of a beetle can signify death for someone that you love. I think we all used to have some of this magic in our world, but we lose it as we get older and reality takes a stronger hold on us. Reading this book is a wonderful way to recapture the amazing in the every day.

The story revolves around sets of sisters in the Owens family - the aunts, Gillian and Sally, and Sally’s girls. All of the women in the Owens family are beguiling and they also happen to be witches. This aspect seemed more focused on in movie (very highly recommended) than in the book, but it’s an important element nonetheless. The relationships between the family is both one of love and one that is convoluted through choices that are made.

While it may sound like a sappy book, the way it is handled makes it anything but. The characters are deep and interesting and you can’t help but experience their longing, their worry, and their love. This book is simply lovely and has become one of my favorites of all time, always staying with me. I can not recommend it enough.

March 31, 2003
The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde: one of the most entertaining, original books that I’ve had the pleasure to read in quite awhile.

The place is England. The time is 1985, but it’s not an England or a 1985 that you or I would recognize. England, the biggest superpower, is a virtual police state, the Crimean War is still going on after 130 years, Wales is now self-governed, and Goliath, a mega-corporation, seems to run everything from the shadows.

The novel centers around Thursday Next, a Special Operative, who works in the Literary Division. The nefarious Acheron Hades is out to change manuscripts of important novels by kidnapping characters from their pages. While it sounds outlandish, believe me, it really works.

I found this novel to be hugely entertaining and couldn’t wait to see what would happen next. I expected it to be light-hearted and funny (very much like a Stephanie Plum novel), but was surprised to find out that it wasn’t that way at all. The book does require some suspension of disbelief, but I found myself slipping into Thursday’s world with no problem. I could really see it appealing to mystery, fantasy, and sci-fi lovers very easily, but it’s definitely a novel I would suggest that anyone try.