Just Giblets

Favorite Books Read in 2013 – #’s 7 & 8

5th January 2014
by Michael

Favorite Books Read in 2013 – #’s 7 & 8

posted in 2013, Books, Year-end lists |

Coming in at #’s 7 and 8 I’ve got a favorite author who has appeared on this list before in previous years, and a novelist new to me with an imaginative story that really captured my heart.  It’s so hard to rank these books in any kind of order because the best ones are all joys to read.

The Illusion of Separateness#8 – The Illusion of Separateness by Simon Van Booy

With compact yet masterful prose, Simon Van Booy’s latest novel explores the connections between strangers, and how seemingly random interactions can have a profound effect on a life. Spanning decades and oceans, the varied characters in The Illusion of Separateness are all struggling with loss of a kind; loss of sight, loss of family, loss of wholeness, loss of innocence. There is love, war and family. They struggle, they feel, the move unerringly forward. And how they unknowingly help strangers whose paths they cross gives this novel its coherence and its joy. In the hands of a lesser writer, The Illusion of Separateness might have come across as gimmicky… let’s find out how this character relates to that character. Fortunately, Simon is leagues beyond that kind of convention, using words to paint images and to make the reader feel the emotions coursing through the characters. In past work, Simon’s focus has often been the love between two people, and while there is still that element in some of the individual tales in this book, he has broadened from love to life, and perhaps how one informs the other. If you’ve never read Mr. Van Booy, I highly recommend you give him a try. His short stories, Love Begins in Winter are essential, and his previous novel, Everything Beautiful Began After soars (it was my #8 book read in 2011).  . I look forward to each new work this talented author undertakes. 

Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend#7 – Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Dicks

Matthew Dicks has created something marvelous and original, the story of the life of an imaginary friend. Imaginary friends are limited only by… you guessed it, the imagination. Budo is lucky; he looks and acts like a real little boy. His friend Max, imagined him with a level of detail that most imaginary friends lack. Sometimes it’s just ears that they are missing, but other times they are just a hair bow with eyes, so they can’t speak, not even to other imaginary friends. Budo is special in other ways as well. He is old for an imaginary friend. Some imaginary friends only live a few minutes or hours. Some last a year or even two. Budo has been alive for five years. And he’s smart too. Max imagined him as very smart.

It’s possible that Budo has been alive for so long because Max is autistic. He has trouble interacting with people; even people he loves like his parents, and his favorite teacher, Mrs. Gosk. Whatever the reason, Budo has learned a great deal and is concerned because he has watched imaginary friends fade away when their human friends stop believing in them. He is afraid of the moment when he fades away as well. But when Max is placed in danger and there is little Budo can do to help him, he learns that there are worse things than fading away. With heart-felt creativity, Dicks tells the story of love and loss, sacrifice and heroism, all through the lens of an imaginary friend. His tale is funny. It is sad. It is suspenseful. It is exciting. It is the story of a life. It is the story of the lessons we learn and the lengths we will go to to help someone we love.

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