Since, I’m the last person on earth to have read The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, I decided to do a top ten list instead of a review. Before I dive into my list, I did get a chance to see Ms. Niffenegger at ALA in D.C. She was on a Graphic Novel panel with children’s book illustrator, David Small. She has a new graphic novel coming out called The Night Bookmobile. It looks fantastic. While I was wandering around in the exhibits on Monday morning, I went by the Abrams booth and they had posters for the book. I looked at the woman from Abrams and then I looked over and realized that Audrey Niffenegger was standing right there, autographing the posters. But, I did a double-take. Where were the hoards of fans? Obviously, they didn’t know she was there. In the course of our conversation, in which I made a complete fool of myself (I just can’t talk to famous people without getting nervous) she said that she wished there were such a thing as a “night bookmobile.” After, her presentation, I understood why. The Night Bookmobile is your own personal bookmobile and it is filled with every book you’ve ever read. Come on, how cool is that? I’ll be reading that very soon.
Without further adieu, the top 10 list in no particular order:
1) The time travel: It works. One would think that time travel immediately puts a book into the sci-fi category, but because it is so limited and there’s an emotional connection, it wasn’t futuristic at all. It added an intensity to the relationship between the characters. It also created a form for the book, which was nice.
2) Henry : Besides the fact that he’s smart, witty and funny and has great taste in books and music, he’s a librarian!
2a) at the Newberry
2b) and uses the word incunabula in a sentence
3) Claire: I felt really passionate about both of these characters. I loved them instantly. Claire is so strong and has so much faith in Henry. It’s almost as if she’s given her whole life over to him. But, I also love that she’s an artist and that she makes her own paper. I have been itching to make my own paper. Okay, I want to make it out of old blue jeans and I don’t have any cool artistic plans for what to do with it once I make it, but still. She’s very inspiring.
4)The last names: So, maybe this is a silly thing to put on the list, but I love the last names of the characters. They just sound so good when you say them.
5) The audio book reader’s: I listened to this and the two readers, William Hope and Laurel Lefkow where fantastic. They are the characters for me. I don’t think I’m going to see the movie, because I have a set idea of the characters in my head based on these two actors.
6) Books and Poetry: I love that it’s a book where the characters are crazy book people. They talk about poetry and go to bookstores.
7) The music: The characters like the same music that I do! I don’t think that has ever happened to me before. I actually went to a Violent Femmes concert on the same tour the characters in the book did. It kind of makes me feel old when I do the math, though.
8) Epigrams and quotations: The downside is that I don’t have the book to refer to here, but they all worked really well with the story. They didn’t feel frivolous at all. See 9.
9) The Odyssey: I loved the quotation from the Odyssey and I didn’t make the connection until the very end. Sure, it was heartbreaking, but it was one of the best references to Penelope and Odysseus, I’ve ever read.
10) Points of View: Someone from the New York Times Book Review once complained about books in which the point of view changes from character to character in a book, but it is a plot device that will never get old to me. I particularly loved it in this story. It was wonderful to see things from both Henry and Claire at different times and watch them catch up to each other. Very clever and endearing. It strengthened my attachment to the characters and in a way had the same feel as an epistolary novel. I just loved it.