HAPPY π(PI) DAY!

π, the famous mathematical constant that comes in handy when dealing with circles (who could forget its greatest hit, πr?), is 3.14 when rounded to two decimal places. And today being March 14 (3/14)… It’s PI DAY everybody!

Pi Day

Its one of those things that doesn’t get the appreciation it deserves. Plus, since it sounds like pie it makes perfect sense that a lot of people celebrate by eating pie. But that’s totally not why we’re excited. Pie Math is important.

Okay. So it doesn’t have anything directly to do with libraries, but hey, any excuse to appreciate the universal principles of mathematics that support reality, right? And eat pie of course.

7 SONGS THAT NEED TO BE BOOKS AND THE AUTHORS WHO SHOULD WRITE THEM

I’ve always been drawn to music with well-written lyrics that tell a story. And just like books, sometimes (ok, a lot of times) I listen to a song and it leaves me wanting more. Not just more music, but more of the story. The guy shows up at her house…OK NOW WHAT. I need to know. Are they together? Did she kick his ass? Do we get a song from his POV now?

These are just a few songs that weave an excellent narrative and that I believe could be translated easily into books and the author who should write it.

Konstantineby Something Corporate by Helen Hoang

When you have a song that’s almost 10 minutes long, I almost expect a great story. And ever since the first time I heard this song back in high school, I’ve wanted to know more about the singer and Konstantine. This is the kind of book that would make me cry hysterically but still believe in love and I am confident one of my fave debut authors of this year, Helen Hoang, would pull this off beautifully.

“This is because I can spell confusion with a K and I can like it
It’s to dying in another’s arms, and why I had to try it
It’s to Jimmy Eat World and those nights in my car
When the first star you see may not be a star
I’m not your star?
Isn’t that what you said what you thought this song meant?”

The Best Deceptions by Dashboard Confessional by Adam Silvera

When I want a sad, angsty but beautiful song I turned to Dashboard. When I want a sad, angsty but beautiful book, I turn to Adam:

“So don’t you see, don’t you see, that the charade is over?
And all the best deceptions and the clever cover story awards go to you.
So kiss me hard, ’cause this’ll be the last time that I let you.”

Cameron by Jillette Johnson by Anna-Marie McLemore

I sent this song to my transgender parent the second that I heard it and it made her cry. I don’t remember how I just happened upon this song but I am so glad I did because the message is beautiful. And Anna Marie McLemore aka the Queen of Diversity and Magical Realism would do something amazing with this plot:

Cameron, you’re a star, a light where there is dark
And you’re a hundred times a woman,
A hundred times the man that they are
These days the world is full of aliens
The world is full of aliens, but you are a real life human.

Landslide by Fleetwood Mac by Celeste Ng

One of the reasons I love this song is because people interpret it in so many different ways, and I’d be super interested to see how Celeste takes the lyrics:

Oh, mirror in the sky, what is love?
Can the child within my heart rise above?
Can I sail through the changin’ ocean tides?
Can I handle the seasons of my life?

Welcome to the Black Parade by My Chemical Romance by Jay Kristoff

This is the song I want played at my funeral and Jay Kristoff’s books kind of feel like a funeral because all the people I love die. *sweats* :

Do or die, you’ll never make me
Because the world will never take my heart
You can try, you’ll never break me.
We want it all, we want to play this part
Won’t explain or say I’m sorry
I’m unashamed, I’m gonna show my scar
Give a cheer for all the broken, listen here, because it’s who we are

Traveling Soldier by Dixie Chicks by Nicholas Sparks

I haven’t read a lot of Nicholas Sparks, but I have a sneaking suspicion that this storyline might already exist in his repertoire…

He said, “When it’s getting kinda rough over here,
I think of that day sittin’ down at the pier.
And I close my eyes and see your pretty smile.
Don’t worry but I won’t be able to write for awhile.”

Year 3000 by Busted by Stephen King

This one is purely for selfish reasons because I want to see what kind of horror show Stephen King would create. Like…is the great, great, great granddaughter actually fine?

He said, “I’ve been to the year 3000
Not much has changed but they lived underwater
And your great, great, great granddaughter is pretty fine.”

 

By , September 

THE PERFECT READING CHAIR

When I was younger, I could—and did—read everywhere: sitting in the corner, perched on my elbows above the pages, in the car on the way to visit grandparents or on family trips. I did not get uncomfortable, I was blessedly free from carsickness, and my arms never got tired.

…picture books and juvenile paperbacks are also easier to lay flat or hold up than hefty, hardcover adult books, but I digress.

As books became more of a factor in my daily work thanks to grad school, library work, and a career in book reviewing, it became less easy to do the read-anywhere thing. Reading on a public bus comes with all sorts of noisy/nosy people frustrations, as does any public reading; reading chairs in school libraries are somehow rarely roomy enough to curl up in; and reading in bed, already an uncomfortable prospect, leads to swift snoring after a long day.

In adulthood: to get through multiple books in a week, you have to become more selective about the wheres of your page-devouring. So begins the search for your perfect reading spot. My own reading place journey included several outright rejections before I arrived at the place that’s just…right…for all-night book-consuming sessions.

In Bed—Rejected

If beds lent themselves to hours of reading, they’d be my preferred spot. You’re already at your most comfortable clothes-wise, and everything about climbing into bed with a book screams relaxation. Those benefits are also the problem, though: even if you utilize pillows to build a comfortable upright reading spot, you inevitably find yourself sinking down into them, lower and lower, until you’re perfectly comfortable—and perfectly asleep. Reading prone in bed propped up on one elbow gets uncomfortable quickly; holding the book open above you probably works if you have Michelle Obama arms, but if you’re noodle-armed like me, it’s a fast no-go.

Outdoors—Rejected

I don’t believe that pictures of people reading in hammocks or on the beach, or smiling widely as they flip through pages on picnic blankets, are at all representative of real people and real books.  Sure, it’s groovy to read out in nature—for the first five minutes. But then the sun gets in your eyes, or your arms get tired, or the wind picks up and sends your hammock sideways. Elbows and edges are a problem in the great outdoors, and bugs and other annoyances are a perpetual distraction. The only beach reading that lasts, for me, happens in a chair, under an umbrella.

Chairs—Getting Warmer

A chair or other straight-backed reading apparatus is essential for any extended reading period. Of course, not all chairs are created equal; if it’s narrow or slouchy or its seat is hard or it is otherwise not conducive to staying still for hours at a time, it’s probably not going to work. Picnic benches give you a place to rest your elbows, but they leave your bottom tender. Folding chairs are portable, but about as comfortable as a family reunion in an election year. So what direction should a furniture-scouting reader go in? I recommend…

Club Chairs—Almost There!

Club chairs are for reading areas with limited space, mostly. They’re designed for relaxing; they have built-in arms for your book-holding comfort; and they don’t consume too much room. The low back isn’t ideal, though; if you’ve got a larger area to fill, then…

WingBack Chairs—Practically Right!

Wingback chairs are the reliably near-perfect way to go. They hug you outwardly, in a way that perfectly pairs with your title’s inward squeeze. They’re comfy. They give you a place to rest your head/neck. Their vintage feel is ideally suited to serious, stylish home libraries. They’re readily available at many thrift stores for not too much money; a vintage velvet wingback reading chair for under 40 bucks is both accessible and lux. Wingbacks are a great place to rest at in your reading room furnishing quest—or are a great place to temporarily settle at until you find your absolutely ideal, made-for-you, designed-by-the-heavens…

Perfect Reading Chair (Ahhhhh)

This is mine.

Velvet—an all-around caress. Deep—I can curl my whole body into it comfortably. Cushy—its arms and cushions want to squeeze and be squeezed. This isn’t just a good place to read; it’s so darned comfortable that coming home to it often inspires me to drop my immediate plans and just read instead. True, it’s made me a little more selfish (visitors are welcome to sit, well, anywhere else), and a little less sociable (weekend plans? Hanging in the chair, with my good friends These Three Books), and it takes up a significant portion of my living room, but: it’s an absolute reading delight. It is possible that: I paid $20 for it at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore; I was so excited when we found each other that this picture includes my thumb; it involved a lot of pickup truck finagling, after which it barely fit up the stairs to my home, requiring the removal of legs, much pivoting, and help and patience from my much stronger boyfriend; I am bragging a bit. Sorry for that.

Honestly, though: comfiest reading of my life.

Bonus: Accessories

Complementing your perfect reading chair with an ottoman and a oversized blanket means that you can adapt within it to different temperatures and stretching temptation; there’s really no reason to leave it, once you’ve curled in. It will accommodate you through weekends and reading marathons and long world avoidances.  A television tray or small table stored next to it can hold your coffee or water; then, you’re set.

, September 

8 EXTROVERTED CHARACTERS ACCORDING TO MYERS-BRIGGS

According to the Myers-Briggs method, there are eight extroverted personality types. As we read through our favorite novels and series, we discover fictional characters with their own personalities. So here are eight extroverted characters according to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.

LORD VOLDEMORT, HARRY POTTER

ENTJ (EXTRAVERSION + INTUITION + THINKING + JUDGING)

THE COMMANDER PERSONALITY

ENTJs are natural-born leaders, they project such authority that crowds get together behind them to achieve a common goal. But this drive and determination can be used in a selfish way, by manipulating others just to meet the necessary ends. That’s what Lord Voldemort does. He’s dominant and a strategic thinker – he sets out his plans carefully and methodically and is action-oriented.

Moreover, Commanders love a challenge (and Voldemort takes the chase after Harry Potter a true challenge) and become relentless and ruthless when they set their minds to it. In fact, Voldemort comes to respect Harry Potter, as he sees him as someone who can stand up to him and act in a manner equal as his own. They are true nemeses.

To ENTJs, emotional displays are displays of weakness, and they are cold and distant. They’re also stubborn, intolerant, impatient, and arrogant, due to their sense of superiority. Seriously, there’s no denying all this when it comes to Voldemort.

AUGUSTUS WATERS, THE FAULT IN OUR STARS

ENTP (EXTRAVERSION + INTUITION + THINKING + PERCEIVING)

THE DEBATER PERSONALITY

ENTP’s are called Debaters and love to make arguments and debating ideas. This is what draws Hazel to Gus – the long conversations about everything, the symbols, and metaphors he puts into his speech.

Additionally, Debaters don’t like the practical things, they thrive on what could be. Augustus Waters is all this. He focuses on theoretical possibilities, seeking deeper meaning in everything, especially Hazel’s favorite book.

We know Gus has an extensive knowledge base, something that shows in his arguments with Hazel. He has a flexible mind, effortlessly shifting from idea to idea, and finding solutions for problems. He’s also charismatic – he has a way with words and a characteristic wit of his own.

STARR CARTER, THE HATE U GIVE

ENFJ (EXTRAVERSION + INTUITION + FEELING + JUDGING)

THE PROTAGONIST PERSONALITY

Starr Carter is honest, strong, authentic, and resilient – even when she doesn’t think she is. ENFJ’s are the so-called protagonists, simply because they radiate authenticity and genuineness, qualities which make them inspiring to others. Although afraid to tell the truth at the beginning, Starr develops into this strong, confident young woman, capable of speaking up for herself and others, and capable of galvanizing crowds with her words.

She is genuinely concerned about who she loves, and she is truly altruistic. In fact, that’s what makes her decide to tell the truth, regardless of the consequences. We see this decision as a process throughout the book, what can be explained by one main characteristic about ENFJ’s: they struggle to make tough decisions. Protagonists may be paralyzed when caught up between two hard choices, because they imagine all the consequences of their actions, especially if there’s a humanitarian element involved.

PEETA MELLARK, THE HUNGER GAMES

ENFP (EXTRAVERSION + INTUITION + FEELING + PERCEIVING)

THE CAMPAIGNER PERSONALITY

Campaigners are charming, independent, energetic and compassionate. When we talk about Peeta from The Hunger Games, we see all that. He gains the public’s empathy with his excellent communication skills, and everyone loves Peeta – he’s approachable, interesting and exciting, with a true friendly spirit and an empathetic disposition.

When compared to Katniss, Peeta seems to be just the opposite of her. She’s a provider and a survivor, but he has poor practical skills. After all, they come from different worlds. And whereas Katniss is reserved and shutdown, Peeta is emotional and is in touch with his soft side. ENFP’s even tend to be highly emotional, what can result in counter-productive outbursts.

RILEY SINCLAIR, BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HOT MESS

ESTJ (EXTRAVERSION + SENSING + THINKING + JUDGING)

THE EXECUTIVE PERSONALITY

Riley Sinclair from Phyllis Bourne’s Between a Rock and a Hot Messhas an unfiltered mouth. ESTJ’s are direct and honest and value facts and information over ideas or opinions. They are also excellent organizers, what makes them great leaders. This description fits into Riley, a boss from the construction sector. What’s more, she loves being the head of Sinclair Construction.

ESTJ’s are also known for their difficulty at expressing emotion. We can say Riley has this weakness: she dreams about her “Perfect Guy”, Ian, but she can’t approach him. It takes the action of rescuing him from a mugger for the two to get in touch.

CERSEI LANNISTER, GAME OF THRONES

ESFJ (EXTRAVERSION + SENSING + FEELING + JUDGING)

THE CONSUL PERSONALITY

ESFJ’s have a strong sense of duty. Cersei takes her values from her father and does the best she can from her role as a sovereign. Consuls are also very loyal, and Cersei is no exception. She’s very protective of her children, although corrupt in her ways.

This personality type respects hierarchy, and so does Cersei. She positions herself with some authority, which allows her to keep things stable and under her control. However, she is spiteful and acts out of sentiment, wishing to be more like her cold-headed father. Another aspect of ESFJ’s is their preoccupation with their social status and influence – an element most evident in Cersei, who is ambitious and hungry for power. She also doesn’t do well with disobedience or disagreement, mistaking them for defiance. Indeed, Consuls are vulnerable to criticism.

D’ARTAGNAN, THE THREE MUSKETEERS

ESTP (EXTRAVERSION + SENSING + THINKING + PERCEIVING)

THE ENTREPRENEUR PERSONALITY

According to 16 personalities, “entrepreneurs are the likeliest personality type to make a lifestyle of risky behavior.” Initially, D’Artagnan is rash and insolent, engaging in a duel with the Comte de Rochefort and the three musketeers. He’s also defiant – entrepreneurs are action-oriented and hands-on, they don’t like being boxed in.

Additionally, ESTP’s are bold, rational, practical, and perceptive, qualities D’Artagnan shows. He’s brave, crafty, and intelligent, never failing in the face of any difficulty, or undaunted by any danger.

LYDIA BENNET, PRIDE AND PREJUDICE

ESFP (EXTRAVERSION + SENSING + FEELING + PERCEIVING)

THE ENTERTAINER PERSONALITY

In the literary world, everyone knows Lydia Bennet. She’s the youngest Bennet sister who runs off with Mr. Wickham, in a totally unselfconscious, spur of the moment kind of thing. In fact, ESFP’s are poor long-term planners – to them, life comes as it comes, and there’s no time to think about consequences. Which leads us to another characteristic: ESFP’s are bold and hold nothing back. They want to experience everything. Lydia all the way, huh?

This personality type is called the Entertainer Personality, and it’s not for nothing. Indeed, Lydia loves to be in the spotlight, soaking up attention wherever she goes. She loves parties, they’re her comfort zone as she finds them the perfect place to chat, dance, and flirt. Being the younger sister, Lydia is also spoiled. She’s so focused on immediate pleasures, she forgets her duties and is simply irresponsible. However, ESFP’s have the strongest aesthetic sense, something we can also see in Lydia: she’s vain and loves to shop for new clothes and accessories.

By , February 

8 INTROVERTED CHARACTERS ACCORDING TO MYERS-BRIGGS

According to the Myers-Briggs method, there are eight introverted personality types. As we read through our favorite novels and series, we discover fictional characters with their own personalities. So here are eight introverted characters according to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.

HERMIONE GRANGER, HARRY POTTER

ISTJ (INTROVERSION + SENSING + THINKING + JUDGING)

THE LOGISTICIAN PERSONALITY

Hermione Granger, from the Harry Potter series, is known for her integrity, practical logic and tireless dedication to duty. Just like a Logistician (ISTJ) in the Myers-Briggs scale. She likes responsibilities—a little too much—and takes pride in the work she does. A bookworm from the very beginning, Hermione used logic in everything she did, including in her adventures with Harry and Ron.

ISTJs analyze, check their facts and come to practical conclusions, with adequate courses of action. Moreover, they expect others to grasp the situations at the same time, and can’t stand those who don’t take action. This seems to be the reason why Hermione and Ron were always butting heads with each other.

However, this personality trait on pure logic made her seem unfriendly and inflexible. Harry and Ron’s first impression of her was bad, actually—she was the common know-it-all we all have in our classes. It was only when she stepped in to take the blame for Harry and Ron after the episode with the troll that the three became friends. One of many examples that show us her integrity and loyalty.

SAMWISE GAMGEE, THE LORD OF THE RINGS

ISFJ (INTROVERSION + SENSING + FEELING + JUDGING)

THE DEFENDER PERSONALITY

We all know and love Samwise Gamgee from The Lord of the Rings. He’s Frodo’s loyal companion and best friend. Throughout their journey together, Sam saved Frodo’s life more than once and accompanied him all the way to Mount Doom to destroy the Ring. After all, Defenders have the deepest desire to do good and are the most loyal of friends. They have well-developed people skills and robust social relationships, which totally makes sense when it comes to Sam and Frodo’s friendship. Sam never abandons Frodo and he takes his mission seriously until the very end.

Sam is kind, altruist, and never saw his job in accompanying and protecting Frodo as something purely mandatory. He faced the mission with generosity and humility, also a characteristic of the ISFJ personality. Defenders have this ability to connect with others on an intimate level like no other among introverts. So, of course, Sam and Frodo’s relationship evolves into a strong bond of love and trust. Sam is actually the friend we all would like to have.

JON SNOW, GAME OF THRONES

INFJ (INTROVERSION + INTUITION + FEELING + JUDGING)

THE ADVOCATE PERSONALITY

Advocates are part of the Diplomat Role group within the Myers-Briggs scale. They have a strong sense of idealism and morality, very much like Jon Snow, from Game of Thrones. One example is his refusal of lying in bed with prostitutes or random girls, because he didn’t want to father a child out of wedlock. Also, living and being raised with the Stark family has given him a clear moral compass and a strong sense of honor.

Jon Snow sees his commitment to the Night’s Watch as an honorable thing, a duty he must fulfill forever. When he realizes Westeros must unite with the Wildlings in order to survive against the White Walkers, he sees the bigger picture and he tries—and dies, literally—to save the world. That’s the thing about Advocates: although soft-spoken, their opinions are very strong and they will fight tirelessly for an idea they believe in.

KATNISS EVERDEEN, THE HUNGER GAMES

INTJ (INTROVERSION + INTUITION + THINKING + JUDGING)

THE ARCHITECT PERSONALITY

The Architect Personality is one of the rarest and most strategically capable personality types. But can we say Katniss Everdeen is strategic to the point of assessing tactics and outmaneuvering the people around her to maintain control? I guess we can say that. From the obstacles thrown her way and her difficult past in District 12, Katniss became a strong and independent young woman, with sharp survivalist instincts. When she volunteered for The Hunger Games, she showed being a fiercely determined and resourceful fighter who, though being against the Games, was capable of everything to survive.

Throughout the whole process before The Hunger Games, we soon discovered Katniss hadn’t the ability to socialize or act in front of the cameras. And INTJs tend to see many social conventions as stupid. Also, rules, limitations, and traditions are foreign for Architects—something we can all see in Katniss. She questions everything about her society and is always in constant disagreement with authority figures.

As a resourceful person, Katniss is endowed with insightful observations, original ideas, and formidable logic, things that make her the face of the revolution. All these defining characteristics enable her to push change through her willpower and thus galvanizing crowds against a common enemy. INTJ through and through.

LISBETH SALANDER, MILLENNIUM SERIES

Lisbeth Salander - ISTP

ISTP (INTROVERSION + SENSING + THINKING + PERCEIVING)

THE VIRTUOSO PERSONALITY

Since Virtuoso women are statistically rare, the gender roles projected by society are a poor fit to them—and the first thing that comes to mind about Lisbeth Salander is the tomboyishness associated with ISTP women. What defines ISTPs is their unpredictability and their curiosity. They are natural makers, which means they’re constantly moving from project to project, getting their hands dirty. This fits perfectly into Lisbeth Salander’s nature. She wasn’t able to fit in a common, regular workplace, and she made her living through freelance jobs. She is a skilled hacker, and she learns from her environment as she goes.

Although very anti-social (perhaps due to her seemingly Asperger’s), she trusts Mikael Blomkvist and helps him solve the mystery surrounding Harriet Vanger’s disappearance. She doesn’t even mind Mikael getting into her space, as long as he doesn’t interfere with her principles and freedom.

Overall, Lisbeth Salander is unpredictable and spontaneous, calm and very private. She’s actually quite enigmatic—like many Virtuosos out there.

CELIE, THE COLOR PURPLE

the color purple alice walker love quotes from books

ISFP (INTROVERSION + SENSING + FEELING + PERCEIVING)

THE ADVENTURER PERSONALITY

Celie is mostly a victim. Her years of enduring abuse made her passive and lonely—she thinks it’s better to stay silent in order to survive than fight back and risking not surviving. Despite all this, we see Celie transform herself. She nurses Shug back to health and a bond of love between the two appears. It is then that Celie begins to realize her self-worth, and becomes an independent, strong woman. All qualities from an Adventurer personality.

Also, Celie shows to be willing to stand up for the people she loves. When she sacrifices herself to save her sister Nettie from their father’s abuse; when she spits on the water belonging to Mr. __’s father (just because he criticized Shug). Whenever people mistreat her loved ones, Celie gets angry. Indeed, ISFP’s are passionate and very sensitive to others’ emotions.

Adventurers also use creativity and insight to craft bold new ideas. Celie takes sewing into a profitable business, using it in a form of self-expression and creativity.

LARA JEAN, TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE

INFP (INTROVERSION + INTUITION + FEELING + PERCEIVING)

THE MEDIATOR PERSONALITY

Lara Jean falls in love easily. She’s a true dreamer and idealist, just like INFPs. She romanticizes the idea of love, despite never having had a boyfriend. And instead of pursuing her happiness, acting on who she loves, she writes letters to her loved interests, keeping the letters and never intending them to read her words. Talking about an introverted, shy person!

She also keeps all her emotions to herself, so much so that her sister Margot doesn’t even have a clue she’s crushing hard on Josh (Margot’s boyfriend). Lara is also searching for ways to make things better and looks up to her older sister as a role model. In fact, she’s so afraid of disappointing Margot, she tries to fit into her role when she leaves to Scotland. Lara Jean is seen as calm, reserved and even shy; however, she shows a true passion later on, when she falls in love with Peter and argues with Margot over Josh and her roles in the family.

NICK CARRAWAY, THE GREAT GATSBY

INTP (INTROVERSION + INTUITION + THINKING + PERCEIVING)

THE LOGICIAN PERSONALITY

Nick Carraway is the narrator in this story, and as he puts it early on, he considers himself tolerant, open-minded, quiet, and a good listener. In social norms and traditions, Logicians are usually fairly liberal, one of the things we see on Nick, who feels attracted to the fast-paced, fun-driven lifestyle of New York, and seems to enjoy being around the wealthy, careless people who party at Gatsby’s.

INTPs are also honest and straightforward, qualities Nick Carraway proudly speaks of when referring to himself. However, that doesn’t mean he’s very nice. Indeed, Nick may be polite and easy to get along with, but he says what he has to say, and even seems to be a lot judgmental. After all, logicians aren’t naturally sensitive, but can be nevertheless incredibly devoted.

By , February 

QUIZ: WOULD YOU SURVIVE A THRILLER NOVEL?

When we read thrillers, we often think we would make the smart choices and would solve the mystery and/or come out the other end alive. It’s easy to feel that way as a reader, when you’re on the outside looking in, but would we be as smart if we were actual characters in a thriller? In this quiz, I walk you through the day in the life of a character in a thriller novel so you can see how you would fare. Good luck.

Thriller Quiz

Click the picture to take the quiz!

By , August 

RISKY READING: 5 DANGEROUS BOOKS WITHIN BOOKS

It may be common knowledge that reading is dangerous. There’s a reason so many exceptional works of writing end up on banned books lists. Plus, novels like 1984Fahrenheit 451, or The Handmaid’s Tale remind us of how crucial the written word is for obtaining power. However, did you ever consider how dangerous the act of reading could actually be? Earlier this summer, a group of researchers at the University of Southern Denmark uncovered a killer fact about three Renaissance-era manuscripts from their library: the manuscripts were all coated in toxic green arsenic. Well, the paint used to apply the arsenic was green, but the color sure does lend to its fright value.

The poisonous outerwear was most likely intended as an insect repellent (or so they say). Still, it got me thinking about the risky road of reading made more hazardous by tomes with a questionable character. Specifically, those fictional books we find in literature that bring the protagonist no small amount of danger. The most notorious of such books would undoubtedly be the Necronomicon, H.P. Lovecraft’s infamous fictional grimoire of black magic. Having never ventured deeply into Lovecraft territory myself, I’m more interested in books I’ve encountered in my own reading. So, I’ve compiled a list of the most dangerous fictional books within books I can attest to (and a few honorable mentions thrown in as well).

Promo art of Tom Riddle's DiaryTOM RIDDLE’S DIARY FROM HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS, BY J.K. ROWLING
Hogwarts is chock full of sinister reading material, thanks to the school library’s Restricted Section. The students also have to keep their wits (and fingers) around their course books, like The Monster Book of Monsters (thanks so much, Hagrid). However, it’s Riddle’s diary that threatens the actual livelihood of any who dare to write in it. Just ask Ginny Weasley, who strangled a bunch of roosters under Voldemort’s spell, and that was the least of her problems.

THE GARDEN OF FORKING PATHS FROM “THE GARDEN OF FORKING PATHS,” BY JORGE LUIS BORGES
This short story by the incomparable Argentinian author features a indecipherable novel, until a Chinese spy for Germany in World War II pays a visit to a professor. I’ve read this story so many times, and I come away feeling something different every time. But I am sure I wouldn’t want the novel-turned-time-labyrinth to exist. It would frighten me to the core to imagine a life where all possibilities exist, especially those where a friend-or-foe arrives to shoot me.

discovery of witches coverASHMOLE 782 FROM A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES, BY DEBORAH HARKNESS
What could possibly be more dangerous than a book that literally sets off all fantastical factions to hunt you down? Sure, it’s my dream to research at Oxford’s Bodleian Library, and even more so to discover hidden treasures. But if Ashmole 782 did exist, and a world-altering alchemical manuscript rested beneath its pages, I would prefer not to know about it. Let the witches, daemons, and vampires circle around someone else.

ANY ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT IN THE EYRE AFFAIR, BY JASPER FFORDE
What fun when a book can become a portal. The opportunities that await! But then you go and choose Jane Eyre as your focus. And then bring Rochester to life. And then mishaps occur that alter the course of the book and any book that gets chosen as a portal…The conundrums are limitless in this novel, but using original manuscripts to capture or even kill people within sure does make them hazardous books. It makes you reconsider the allure of jumping into book worlds.

THE LIBRARY FROM THE INVISIBLE LIBRARY, BY GENEVIEVE COGMAN
You might consider every single book dangerous here, because the way the titular library acquires books is nothing but treacherous. This novel and ensuing series depicts librarians with (much deserved) tangible power and impressive skills at espionage. Instead of jumping into the worlds of books, the librarians have to access alternate universes—from magical to mundane—to retrieve alternate versions of books that reside within. The kind of conflict that librarians must venture into day after day (rich with thievery, dragons, vampires, and toppling super villain plots) is enough to make one’s bones tremble.
HONORABLE MENTIONS:
I have an on-again-off-again relationship with The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. Every time I start to read it, I am either pulled away or distracted from it. So I have not yet completed this book, but it still deserves a mention. Whenever holding a book puts you in danger of the forces trying to destroy it, well, it doesn’t get more dangerous than that. But also, Zafón’s depiction of post-war Barcelona is lyrical and riveting (from what I’ve read, at least).

The Unwritten by Mike Carey (also known as M.R. Carey, of The Girl with all the Gifts acclaim) also needs mentioning. The comic book series truly captures the horror of fiction coming to life, where a book series actually affects the life and livelihood of the protagonist of the series. Most likely because the fantasy books within the comic series may have actually been about him, literally. I haven’t yet read these, but I’m intrigued enough to want to see the Tommy Taylor fantasy series.

By , August