Reading Unboxed

wpid-img_20150320_200938.jpg A few years ago, I heard Daniel Nayeri speak at Calvin College’s Festival of Faith and Writing. He talked about his book Straw House, Wood House, Brick House, Blow. He also showed us the book trailers (which I’ll put below).

I HAD to read the book.

And I finally did. Just a few days ago. I wish I would have read it sooner.

This book is the most unique book I’ve ever read – and you know I read a lot. It’s a collection of 4 novellas, each with a completely different storyline and characters. Nayeri is clever and imaginative.

This book was so far out of the box that I wondered if the box was blown to smithereens.

I loved this book. I will read it again. I’m looking forward to when my kids are teens so they can enjoy it, too.

Like I said, I read a lot. But I can get stuck in a rut easily. I could easily read Steinbeck for years with nothing else in between. I have to be intentional about pursuing books that are wildly different. It’s good for my creativity. It’s good for my writing. Even if I’ll never write a novel from the point of view of death (yes, that’s one of the novellas…and he’s pretty charming, really), I’m still engaging my creative brain in a new way. It’s good for me.

So, tell me, what books have you read which denied the “box” of convention? What’s a book that delighted your creativity? Or what’s a book (fiction or nonfiction) that made you laugh out loud?

And here, as promised, are those book trailers.

9 Comments on “Reading Unboxed

  1. I put this on my list of books to read. Did I tell you I read Travels with Charley and LOVED it!??? Thanks for the book suggestions! 🙂


    • Great! It’s a fun read. I think Greg would like it too!

      I’m so glad you loved Travels with Charley. I was just thinking about that this morning and wondering how you liked it. I’m so glad!


      • You wanna know why I read it (even though it WAS Steinbeck…………….) – you reminded me that I LOVED Of Mice and Men. So I thought it would be worth a try to read another Steinbeckian novel……….other than the Grapes of Depression one……………………..but I AM looking forward to reading your Cup of Dust, even if it might be depressing………………..LOVE YOU! 🙂


      • A Cup of Dust, while sad, is really hopeful. Her family is strong. She’s loved. It ends on a super happy note (not with a woman suckling a starving man…). 🙂 Love you too!


  2. Whoa, cool book trailers! I didn’t know that was a thing. Now I’ve got to read that book.

    Re: What you said about wildly different books stoking your creativity: That’s happening to me right now with Margaret Atwood’s “The Blind Assassin.” It’s a novel within a novel, and the story swings back and forth between both worlds, one of which is realistic and the other is a sort of mythological sci-fi. I can’t wait to find out if/when/how the two plots will intersect.

    I know it’s on your Goodreads list, too, and I’m glad. I think you’ll really enjoy it.

    Thanks for introducing me to Daniel Nayeri.


    • Rachel, book trailers were a big deal a few years ago. I even made one…or…um…had one made for my first novel. 🙂

      I think you’ll like Nayeri’s writing. He’s really witty. I enjoyed it immensely. I added Atwood’s book because I saw it on your GoodReads feed. I’ve always wanted to read her, just never got around to it! Sounds interesting. I love literature! (swoon)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. In fiction, I read more for style than content, so end up reading a wide breadth of material, especially when recommended by someone I trust. LIke you. I’ll have to check out Mr. Nayeri. Meanwhile, I’m catching up on the latest YA novels so that I can have conversations with my daughters; the latest philosophical treatises so that I can have conversations with my eldest son; a book on German so that I can have conversations with my youngest son who has been swept away by the beauty of a Deutsche Fraulein; and several non-fiction tomes of ponderous weight so that I may more fully understand the mysterious world in which I find myself.


  4. You read it! Ah! Seriously, when pressed to name a favorite book, this one is it…but I only like to tell people who I know will appreciate it. Such a special piece.
    Would love to hear your thoughts some time!


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