We asked our authors to write about a favourite book, which they think more people should read.
Parinita Shetty is the author of a few books for children, including The Monster Hunters, a hOle book.
The most recent book which intrigued and delighted me is The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet by Reif Larsen. I had never heard of it until two months ago when my professor (of children’s literature) introduced it to the class and kindly lent me her copy. Nearly every page is filled with margin notes and intricate illustrations. The story itself is odd and wonderful and filled with strange characters. It features 12-year-old cartographer T.S. Spivet who scrupulously maps his observations of his family and the world in an effort to understand them both. It narrates his adventures as he sets off from his home alone to claim a prize awarded to him by a prestigious museum. I think I enjoyed reading this book so much because it was all so unexpected – the language, the characters, the story, and the pages filled with notes and illustrations. I’d recommend this for as much for the glimpse into an entirely different way of approaching a narrative as for the story itself.
The other book I loved, a little less recently, was Nimona by Noelle Stevenson. I’m only now beginning to explore the world of graphic novels and this is one of the few I’ve read. It’s also my favourite one. It’s a subversive and irreverent fantasy with some excellent characters. Nimona is a young shapeshifter who pesters the story’s villain, Lord Ballister Blackheart, into hiring her as his sidekick. Their mission is to prove to the kingdom that the folks at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics are not as heroic as everyone thinks. The writing is completely bonkers but also challenges you to question a lot of narrative and real-life assumptions about characters and people. It’s also really fun! (Even/especially the dark bits) The book started off as a webcomic series and you can sample a few pages here: