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Catch You Later, Traitor by Avi
The Dastardly Deed by Holly Grant
Dragon Overnight by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and, Emily Jenkins
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Fenway and Hattie Up to New Tricks by Victoria J. Coe
The Final Kingdom by Michael Northrop
Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella
Ghosts of Greenglass House by Kate Milford
The Grave's a Fine and Private Place by Alan Bradley
Hamster Princess: Whiskerella by Ursula Vernon
Haunting Jordan by P.J. Alderman
Let's Talk About Love by Claire Kann
The Maze in the Mind and the World: Labyrinths in Modern Literature by Donald Gutierrez
Miss Pickerell Harvests the Sea by Ellen MacGregor and Dora Pantell
Mr. Pants: It's Go Time! by Scott McCormick
My Little Pony: Micro-Series: #1: Twilight Sparkle by Thomas Zahler
The Nest by Kenneth Oppel
A Night Divided by Jennifer A. Nielsen
Noragami: Stray God Volume 4 by Adachitoka
The Other Boy by M.G. Hennessey
Ruby Lee and Me by Shannon Hitchcock
Rueful Death by Susan Wittig Albert
The Someday Birds by Sally J. Pla
Stanley Will Probably Be Fine by Sally J. Pla
Three Years with the Rat by Jay Hosking
Voltron Legendary Defender Volume 2: The Pilgrimage by Tim Hedrick
The Worst Class Trip Ever by Dave Barry

It's Monday, What Are You Reading (February 05)
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Road Essays
Gender in Ozma of Oz
The Splendid Dystopia in the Marvelous Land of Oz
Unmappable structures: Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George

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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

The Maze in the Mind and the World: Labyrinths in Modern Literature: 02/16/18

The Maze in the Mind and the World: Labyrinths in Modern Literature by Donald Gutierrez

The Maze in the Mind and the World: Labyrinths in Modern Literature by Donald Gutierrez is a collection of literary analysis around the motif of the labyrinth in modern literature. I read the collection to see if it was relevant for my road narrative project. Save for the introduction, the short answer is no.

Guitierrez in the introduction writes that he will use the word labyrinth and maze interchangeably. Unfortunately most novels I've read where one or the other is used, the language is specific and the allusion is purposeful. The Way to Bea by Kat Yeh builds its story around the contrasting motifs of maze (a puzzle with blind alleys) and labyrinths (a single spiraling path that goes in to the center and back out again). Trying to use Guitierrez's methodology on such a book would be futile.

Guiterrez's thesis is the the maze / labyrinth is a metaphor or life or parts of life (adolescence, sex, death). As he puts it: "Life is often presented as a line (a path, a road) or sometimes as a circle. But it also has been regarded as a labyrinth or maze, a dark or mysterious place full of windings and exits that lead nowhere." (p. 2)

However, in the road narrative books I've read where a maze or a labyrinth features, the inclusion is always as some method of barrier or some unattainable thing. The maze (often a maize maze, see Lowriders to the Center of the Earth for an example.

In my reading of road narratives that feature a maze or a labyrinth (or in viewing television series or films that do), the maze serves as a barrier: either to keep the characters in or to keep something (a town or a magical land) hidden. This barrier usually can only be crossed on foot, or via "the walking world" as Kate Milford calls it in The Kairos Mechanism (2012). In the case of Labyrinth (1986), the film uses both a maze (the thing Sarah actually has to go through to rescue her brother) and a metaphorical labyrinth (the change in her state of mind over her feelings of jealousy for her baby brother).

The essays themselves were literary readings of old modern literature, The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and ones of similar vintage. The novels I've been reading are significantly younger than the ones selected by Gutierrez. His selection were also primarily British and mine are primarily American.

Road narratives featuring mazes or labyrinths

Two stars

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