Make it a double: two books to binge on this weekend

In honor of Fly After 5 becoming a bi-monthly publication, we’re here to bring you twice the Lancaster County fun. That means twice the music, twice the food and twice the arts and culture. Be on the lookout for our first two issues Sept. 1 and Sept. 15.

The great ol’ thing about books is that there’s an unplumbed variety of literary material for you to peruse. The first novel ever written was “The Tale of Genji,” by Lady Murasaki, collected in its entirety around 1021 CE – and ever since then, we’ve been reading, and demanding, an ever-building cadre of genres. Don’t like romance? Maybe you dig murder mysteries. Don’t like Stephen King? Maybe you’ll enjoy Rona Vaselaar. Graphic novels, experimental stories, hell, even flip books: there’s something for everyone. In keeping with our “Make It A Double” theme appearing here at Fly After 5, here’s a double book recommendation – if you don’t like one, then you’ll hopefully like the other.


“The Queen of the Night” by Alexander Chee is a new release this year. To call it “weird” feels as though it might be a disservice to the author, his talent, and the surrealism bordering on Dadaism that soaks this text, but it’s really the only word for it. This film is a loose rendition of Mozart’s opera “The Magic Flute” on steroids seen through those drunk goggles they made you wear in the fifth grade. Lilliet Berne is an opera singer – or a traitor to the state, or a girl from the American Midwest, or a sex worker, or a circus performer, or an ex-convict, or a dead woman, depending on who you ask, and she hopes that you only ask her. Unfortunately, someone hasn’t – she’s approached by an opera writer who offers her the opportunity to star in his next work. The catch is that work is the story of Lilliet’s many lives, and her current one depends upon secrecy about all those gone past. This, of course, kicks her off into a scorched-earth search for whoever has been spilling her secrets. It’s weird, wild, and Junot Diaz loves the work of the dude who wrote it, so that’s really all the endorsement you need.

“NOS4A2” by Joe Hill came out in 2014. While it reached number five on the New York Times Bestseller List, I’ve still yet to run into anybody who has actually read this. It’s part horror and part God knows what, and it has one of the most interesting magic systems (for lack of a better term) to hit the presses. Vic McQueen is a kid who finds that she can find objects, and go wherever she likes, by riding her bicycle through something called the Shorter Way Bridge. She’s not the only one with a power like this – a librarian named Maggie is able to use Scrabble tiles to divine answers to her questions. Less whimsically, a child abductor named Manx is mystically connected to a Rolls-Royce Wraith. As Vic grows, her path intersects with Manx – who subsequently is arrested, goes into a coma, and dies in the hospital. At least, that’s what the cops say when Vic is brutally beaten by that very same Manx and her son, Wayne, is kidnapped. Obviously, that doesn’t go over well with Vic, and in an action-packed series of events, she finds herself running headlong towards danger in an effort to save her son, and possibly the world.


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Posted in Articles, Arts+Culture

Ed Hirtzel is the Summer 2016 Fly intern. She’s currently an English Honors student at Millersville University. Her hobbies include scribbling, writing both fiction and nonfiction, and compiling useless information about cryptids.

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