I’ve been reading some fantastical books that really just tickle the harmonic chords of the aesthetic. Books that are bound together with vivid descriptions that come to life and dance across the page.
Basically, I’ve been reading books that do words gooder than I could ever hope to achieve.
So, I decided to create a tag to honor such literary genius.
The game is simple: Pick three books with prose that stands out in vivacity and beauty. Books that could stand on imagery alone without characters or plot.
And then tag a few friends to join in 😉
I’ll go first.
#1. The Golem and the Jinni by Helen Wecker
I LOVE the strong narration in this book. Each passerby that’s mentioned has a backstory, from the ice cream man on the street of New York, who was a doctor that got cursed by a demon, to the sweet cafe owner, who takes care of everyone and likes to gossip.
THIS BOOK IS BEAUTIFUL.
I’ve been trying to think of a way to express HOW beautiful this story is, but I just decided to pick a few excerpts to share (by the way, these aren’t the best snippets. This is just how the entire story is. All the time. Like a Shakespearean sonnet put to the music of Hans Zimmer in an endless flow of glory.)
- “A man might desire something for a moment, while a larger part of him rejects it. You’ll need to learn to judge people by their actions, not their thoughts.”
- “He’d lived so long in anticipation of his own death that to contemplate his future was like standing at the edge of a cliff, staring into a vertiginous rush of open sky.”
- “After that, the Jinni was rarely without tobacco and rolling papers. He appreciated the taste of the tobacco, and the warmth of the smoke in his body. But to the puzzlement of all who stopped him on the street to ask, he never carried matches.”
- “The Jinni watched the girl sprint excitedly back the way she’d come, driving her goats before her. He smiled, and wondered what a girl such as she might dream about.”
#2 An Old-Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott
Oh, this book! You know when you read a story at just the right time? How you happen to stumble upon it and it somehow shapes you?
I read this when I was thirteen and it left me in a wistful state for days. FINALLY, womanhood was summed up in a beautiful, relatable story.
- “To be strong, and beautiful, and go round making music all the time. Yes, she could do that, and with a very earnest prayer Polly asked for the strength of an upright soul, the beauty of a tender heart, the power to make her life a sweet and stirring song, helpful while it lasted, remembered when it died.”
- “Young men often laugh at the sensible girls whom they secretly respect, and affect to admire the silly ones whom they secretly despise, because earnestness, intelligence, and womanly dignity are not the fashion.”
- “The thought that, insignificant as she was, she yet might do some good, made her very careful of her acts and words, and so anxious to keep head contented and face happy, that she forgot her clothes, and made others do the same. She did not know it, but that good old fashion of simplicity made the plain gowns pretty, and the grace of unconsciousness beautified their little wearer with the charm that makes girlhood sweetest to those who truly love and reverence it.”
#3. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
I know I already gushed about this on Instagram, and even though I’m still on a bit of a high after reading it, I think it’s one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read.
But it’s a little different, though.
I wouldn’t say the actual prose is the most lyrical, but the whole tone of the book is a mystical masterpiece all on its own. When I read it, my whole mood shifted into the setting, if that makes sense?
- “As the sun shines low and red across the water, I wade into the ocean. The water is still high and brown and murky with the memory of the storm, so if there’s something below it, I won’t know it. But that’s part of this, the not knowing.”
- “My mother always said that I was born out of a bottle of vinegar instead of born from a womb and that she and my father bathed me in sugar for three days to wash it off. I try to behave, but I always go back to the vinegar.”
- “Shhhhhh, shhhhhh, says the sea, but I don’t believe her.”
- “There are moments that you’ll remember for the rest of your life and there are moments that you think you’ll remember for the rest of your life, and it’s not often they turn out to be the same moment.”
- “In the middle of all this, as Sean slips out of his jacket, he looks over his shoulder at me and he smiles at me, just a glancing, faint thing before he turns back to Tommy. I’m quite happy for that smile, because Dad told me once you should be grateful for the gifts that are the rarest.”
Rachel from Musings of a God Girl
Jameson from Lovely Whatsoevers
Ashes from Wild Strawberries