Tuesday, September 19, 2006

What We're Reading: Special Topics in Calamity Physics

You know the saying, "You can't judge a book by it's cover"? Well, I believe that you most certainly can judge a book by its title, and Special Topics in Calamity Physics is a winner. This debut work by Marisha Pessl is clever, original, and a little daunting at 500+ pages. From the first chapter you notice that the well-traveled Blue Van Meer, senior at St. Gallway School, is no normal teenager. She is an expert in the areas of cinema and literature, and her narrative is punctuated by precise parenthetical documentation. If you think it reads like a research paper, however, you'd be wrong. It is a gripping mystery for people who aren't necessarily fans of the genre. You are told right away that there will be a murder, and you are told the victim. What you aren't told is that there are any clues whatsoever; they are slipped in so delicately and secretly that you don't remember them until Blue starts piecing them together. While the year isn't yet over I have this pegged (tentatively) as my favorite book published in 2006. A definite MUST READ if you're looking for a refreshing and original novel.

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