Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Take A Chance Challenge - Challenge #4

I'm so excited to be participating in the Take A Chance Challenge hosted by Jenners over at Find Your Next Book Here. She has come up with 10 fun and clever tasks that involve books, reading, and even a little writing. This is my blog entry for Challenge #4.

Here are the instructions for this particular challenge:

4.Judge A Book By Its Cover
Pick out a book based SOLELY on the cover. First, write about what you expect the book to be about based on the cover art. Then read the book and write about how the book was different from and/or similar to what the cover art led you to expect.

I chose Birds in Fall by Brad Kessler

I think this has been my favorite challenge so far. Never, have I chosen a book to read simply by its cover. It was somewhat liberating - picking a book without even glancing at the inside jacket to see what it was about. For this challenge, I went to the fiction section of the library. I selected Birds In Fall because I thought it was a beautiful book. The cover is filled with exotic looking bird-themed postage stamps (I've always had a thing for postage stamps). It was impossible to tell what the book might be about, but, my guess was that maybe it took place in a tropical setting and involved someone on some sort of journey or trip.

Here's the actual synopsis:

From Publishers Weekly
This brooding novel is a modern-day retelling of the Greek myth of Ceyx and Alcyone. In the eerie first chapter, Russell, a New York ornithologist, is on a flight to Amsterdam when the airplane plunges into the Atlantic near Nova Scotia. The victims' family members, including Russell's wife, Ana, gather near the site on Trachis Island to wait for word from search crews. Their host is Kevin, an innkeeper who witnessed the crash and occupies himself making the anxious guests comfortable. There, the disparate group, a global mix of parents, siblings, spouses and aunts and uncles, begins the difficult work of dealing with the tragedy, with Ana's story at the center, while Kevin, distracted by his duties, grows apart from his partner, Douglas. The protagonists are sympathetic and complex and Kessler, a journalist, children's book writer and novelist (Lick Creek), writes with lyricism, but also with studied seriousness.

I thought this was a beautifully written story. Even though it involved a terrible tragedy - an airplane crash and the demise of all its passengers - the book gave me a sense of hope and calm throughout. All of the main characters were likable and you couldn't help but root for them to make it through this horrible period in their lives. It was a quick and easy read at 238 pages. It's mentioned that this is a retelling of the Greek myth of Ceyx and Alcyone. I'm not familiar with that story but, am now curious to look into it and see what that's all about.


septembermom said...

That is an interesting cover! Great choice for this challenge. I like your thorough review and will add this to my ever growing list. I better get going with these challenges. With school starting next week, I'm afraid that I'll be too busy to get them done in time. It's a fun way to add new books and authors to our favorite list.

JanMary said...

Never chosen a book by it's cover - interesting challenging.

I always have to read "the blurb", and usually a random page too.

Thanks for the SITS visit.

Nicki said...

What a neat Challange.....some people just have such great ideas for Challanges,
Hugs from a SITS Gal just finding your blog tonight.

Jenners said...

I could see why you chose this cover!! And I don't think I would have expected the story line you described based on the cover, but it sounds like the cover was wonderful and the story was tcouhing and well-done. It always amazes me how well these types of things work out. I'm glad it resulted in such a good book for you ... and one that I might check out myself.

Robin of My Two Blessings said...

Interesting cover and would never guess what it was about. Sounds really interesting and will have to check it out.