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Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
Autokind Vs. Mankind by Kenneth R. Schneider
Bat and Rat by Patrick Jennings
Blue Pills: A Positive Love Story by Frederik Peeters
Bohemians edited by Paul Buhle
By Book or By Crook by Eva Gates
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator by Roald Dahl
Clean Sweep! Frank Zamboni's Ice Machine by Monica Kulling
Cupcake Cousins by Kate Hannigan
Desolation Angels by Jack Kerouac
Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
The Girl Who Raced Fairyland All the Way Home by Catherynne M. Valente
Good-Bye, Chunky Rice by Craig Thompson
Hamster Princess: Of Mice and Magic by Ursula Vernon
Hunters of Chaos by Crystal Velasquez
I See Kitty by Yasmine Surovec
Little Robot by Ben Hatke
Locke & Key, Volume 1: Welcome to Lovecraft by Joe Hill
The Long Utopia by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter
My Little Pony: Micro-Series: #3: Rarity by Katie Cook
One Book in the Grave by Kate Carlisle
The Outside Circle: A Graphic Novel by Patti Laboucane-Benson
Sherlock Bones 1 by Yuma Ando
Summer Showers by Kate Hannigan
Three Bears in a Boat by David Soman
Trailer Park Fae by Lilith Saintcrow
Vested Interests: Cross-Dressing and Cultural Anxiety by Marjorie Garber
Wandering Son: Volume 2 by Shimura Takako

Miscellaneous
The road not taken

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5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge 2017 February - January 2017-8



The road not taken: 04/01/16

Just like Twighlight Sparkle, I'm The road not taken.

I'm taking a detour with my road narrative reading to explore the tropes that arise out of the urban vs rural dichotomy. Most road trip stories aren't just a collection of arrivals and departures from big cities. Much of their time is spent on the rural roads, stopping in out of the way towns with populations ranging in the dozens.

Against the play of urban and rural, often one side comes out as good and the other as bad — protagonist and antagonist. Which side is good depends on the frame of reference. For urbanite on a road trip, the rural way station is the threatening, dark place waiting to do the unwary driver and passenger(s) harm.

When the focus is changed from the driver to the townspeople, the entire road narrative structure unfolds. The road stops being a honeytrap for travelers, instead being an unwanted but necessary connection to a wider and more dangerous world. The road brings in goods and services. The road offers escape for those who wish it but it also invites in dangerous beings.

One way in which evil descends on the rural township is the traveling carnival, whether it's a circus or a medicine show. In Something Wicked This Way Comes, Mr. Dark's Pandemonium Carnival brings the worst nightmares to life and steels the very life force from its youth. In Bone Gap by Laura Ruby, Finn must go against the unexpected early arrival of the carnival to rescue Roz. In The Boneshaker by Kate Milford and in the 1977 version of Pete's Dragon the towns are besieged by snake oil salesmen and their medicine shows.

Chart of what states the stories I mention are from: Illinois, Illinois, Missouri, and Maine.

The circus or traveling show as threat to the rural town is an interesting tangent in the road narrative tropes. I'm not sure yet how much I'll explore it, but I want to acknowledge it in case I see it reoccurring with frequency.

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