And the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge is here again! There’s 24 prompts to encourage you to read harder, and I urge you to check it out if you want to get outside your comfort zone. 🙂

(Click the link to see the challenge, and to download a PDF of the challenge list.)

book riot

To quote the article: “We encourage you to push yourself, to take advantage of this challenge as a way to explore topics or formats or genres that you otherwise wouldn’t try. But this isn’t a test. […] We like books because they allow us to see the world from a new perspective, and sometimes we all need help to even know which perspectives to try.

  • Read a book you’ve read before.

Winter’s Tale; Mark Helprin.

Goodreads says I finished this September 11,  2011.

This is a complicated book, that centers around a magical white horse, and the Penn family. The first section introduces, among other people, Peter Lake and Beverley Penn. The second, Virginia Gamely, whose family was close to the Penns, and Hardesty Marratta. The third and fourth sections bring together people from the first and second, and tie their stories together.

Also looming large is Lake Coheeries, where several characters are from, and New York, where the majority of the city is set. The Penn family has roots in both those places. The setting is an important part of the story, with a mysterious cloud wall that has the power to affect drastic changes to time, and plenty of characters writing love letters to their home towns.

As for the characters, there are so many of them it’s sometimes difficult to keep track, as their lives bounce off each other, impacting and setting away on new trajectories. People fall in love, create grand dreams, or make dangerous enemies. People steal, build businesses, raise fortunes or slid into poverty. The criminals might decide to reform–or hold onto their desires despite who they hurt. There are secrets and plots and revenge and love all mixed up together, making it a intriguing if sometimes puzzling read. And the end leaves a little up to the reader, to decide what, in the end, it all means.

This definitely isn’t the book for everyone. It’s long, and some sections drag on, but it’s also magical. There is a lot unexplained in the book, and it’s wonderfully strange in the way that magical realism is.


About Caitlin Stern

I have a MA in English, and have so many fantasy/urban fantasy WIPs it's not even funny. I'm an avid reader of science fiction, fantasy, mystery, romance, biography, fiction, and anything else that catches my interest. I collect books, and bookmarks I find that are visually appealing and useful.

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