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Literary Friday: The Book of Speculation

Friday, July 17, 2015

This week I read The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler.  It is her debut novel, and she also illustrated the book.  I was lurking on her Tumblr account yesterday, and I noticed where she handmade books to basically use as her query letters to publishers.  I was awed and amazed.  You can read about her bookbinding adventures HERE.

Simon Watson has problems.  Big problems.  His Long Island seaside home is falling in and could quite possibly slide into the ocean due to seasons of storms and no maintenance on the bluff {barely} supporting his home.  He loses his job as a librarian, and those jobs are as scarce as jackalopes.  He's recently started having an affair with the daughter of his deceased parents' best friends (also a librarian at his old place of employment).  Plus his flighty sister Enola is coming home for a visit. Simon's personal life is as precarious as his seaside home.  He's in a bad place.

And here's an odd twist of fate:  A Mr. Martin Churchwarry of Churchwarry & Son (one of the most unfortunate names in all of literature) has sent Simon a very large, old, and damaged book he procured as part of a book lot at auction for his rare books shop.  The book is a traveling carnival log that seems to contain a few records concerning Simon's family, and guess what?  Simon's family is cursed!  Apparently all the women perish on the same date:  July 24th.  (pssstttt.....July 24th is just around the corner, oh my!)  And they all die by drowning, which is an odd way to go given that superhuman swimming abilities are a family trait: Most of the women performed as human mermaids and/or divers.  Generational curses used to freak me out in Sunday school, and I also learned there to not mess with tarot cards which play a huge part in the story.  Note to self:  one way to avoid evil is not to invite it into your life!

The countdown in the book adds to the intrigue as the reader gets glimpses of Simon's ancestors and his own history.  Plus the reader frets over Enola's fate just like Simon.  Told almost entirely from Simon's point of view, I enjoyed the story and the plot.  I've always been fascinated by carnivals and the people who travel and work in them.  But I found Simon's character to be a little lackadaisical, a little flat.  I believe I felt more of an urgency with his home, his sister, his lack of a job, his relationship with Alice, and a flood of biblical proportions than Simon.  None of the characters were as developed as I would have liked.  Mayhap lethargy was part of the curse.

Below is a lovely animated book trailer for The Book of Speculation.  I hope you enjoy it!

Please link-up below.  Share your books!  This is a link party.

Until next time...

Happy reading!
Ricki Jill


  1. This book sounds intriguing. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Sounds very interesting. I always enjoy your reviews. Thank You ~ Carla

  3. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I love the cover. :-)

  4. I have this book downloaded and ready to listen to next! I'm hoping the narration and performance adds to the story :)


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I'm Ricki Jill. Welcome! I'm honored that you're reading my blog. I enjoy sharing my creative lifestyle @ The Bookish Dilettante. For more information about my blog, please read the Start Here page. Thank-you for stopping by, and I hope you'll consider following me via email.


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