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Month in review

Reviews
Archie vs Predator by Alex de Campi
Bewitched, Bothered, and Biscotti by Bailey Cates
Bookplate Special by Lorna Barrett
Carson Crosses Canada
Fifteen Dogs by André Alexis
Giant Trouble by Ursula Vernon
The Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson
I'm Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid
It Might Have Been Worse by Beatrice Larned Massey
It's a Book by Lane Smith
Kleine Katze Chi #1 by Kanata Konami
No Place for Magic by E.D. Baker
Nooks & Crannies by Jessica Lawson
Lumberjanes, Volume 1: Beware the Kitten Holy by Noelle Stevenson
Mystery of the Midnight Rider by Carolyn Keene
Paper Girls, Volume 2 by Brian K. Vaughan
Proven Guilty by Jim Butcher
Road of Her Own: Women's Journeys in the West by Marlene Blessing
A Safe Girl to Love by Casey Plett
Shopaholic & Sister by Sophie Kinsella
Song of the Lion by Anne Hillerman
There Are No Cats in this Book by Viviane Schwarz
This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel
When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
Winnebago Graveyard #1 by Steve Niles
Winnebago Graveyard #2 by Steve Niles
Woof by Spencer Quinn
Yours Truly by Heather Vogel Frederick

Miscellaneous
August 2017 Reading Sources
August 2017 Reading Summary
Books on Books
Crossing the Cornfield and Saving the World: The Neddiad by Daniel Pinkwater
Greenglass House by Kate Milford: A road narrative deconstruction
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (September 04)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (September 11)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (September 18)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (September 25)
The maze isn't for you — except when it is

Previous month

Rating System

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 maze isn't for you — except when it is: 09/19/17

The maze isn't for you — except when it isn by Linda Bailey

The title comes from what the girl in pueblo tells the Man in Black when he demands instructions to the center of the game in Westworld (season 1, episode 2, "Chestnut"). The second half of the title is my commentary on the idea of the labyrinth — usually the one of the Minotaur story being co-opted for a meta-fiction road narrative. In stories where one is unable to travel because of remoteness or where travelers arrive in remote or uncharted villages, the labyrinth — and the one who can navigate it — is used as a motif to show the process of either escape or invasion.

When I restarted the road narrative project, I began at what I thought was the beginning — with the invention of the automobile. With the automobile comes the road trip. I collected as many early memoirs of crossing the North American continent and took copious notes. I read through as many early accounts of road design and the bureaucracies behind them.

As I read and as questions popped into my head, I started jotting them down in OmniGraffle, drawing lines connecting things like pins and strings and papers in a conspiracy theorist's den. Out of that mess arose something resembling a spiderweb or a multi-dimensional labyrinth. I wish I could say it was the shape there that made me see where my research needed to go. But it didn't.

In April 2016, after reading The Bone Gap, I wrote "The Road Not Taken" article, my first proto-crossing-the-cornfield essay. I was still looking at road narratives — all road narratives — as being written in and unfolding in a geographic space. The real-world place would affect the narrative flow in predictable ways. To know the place was to know the narrative. It was a blind and epistemologically driven thesis that didn't take into account meta fiction or utopic or uhoral places.

Then came Lowriders to the Center of the Earth which got me to thinking about road narratives and the road not taken in an entire different perspective. Since then I have been focusing more and more on the road not taken / crossing the cornfield types or road narrative. I have also been able to identify archetypal characters and map their types of journeys against a spectrum of subgenres.

What I've found is, there is unmapped land in these, oft-times, horror genres of the road narrative. Despite the lack of research (though I am still looking), authors have been using similar tropes and motifs to tell their stories that it's possible to do narrative deconstructions based on the characters, tropes, and motifs used — even in the shortest forms of fiction, such as the children's picture book.

While I do still have early research notes to transcribe, moving forward, I plan to focus on these crossing the cornfield stories. They come in two forms: incarcerated in, and escaping from, the cornfield. Essentially: is the cornfield, an impenetrable fortress (such as in Black Hammer and "It's a Good Life") or can it be crossed and escaped from (as in The Magic Cornfield and Bone Gap)?

Below is a time line by articles i've written about the research process and progress.

February 2016:
The Road (Narrative Project) So Far

April 2016:
The Road Not Taken

January 2017:
Crossing the Cornfield

February 2017:
Seven Narrative Ways to Travel

May 2017: Mapping the Roads of the American Nightmare

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