A Thousand Perfect Things is my featured book for the letter T in this year’s A to Z Challenge. It’s a while since I read it, but the glory stays with me.

The plan for the month is to feature daily a book I’ve reviewed in the past (or review it that day), and also highlight others: not all are included each day.

  • review/featured
  • spacetime challenge (I host this reading challenge – you can join here)
  • middle grade (childrens) choice
  • series (love a good series – there’s a challenge for finishing those, too)
  • ‘notable’ reads
  • ‘outstanding’ books
  • my books!

Featured: A Thousand Perfect Things by Kay Kenyon

A Thousand Perfect Things

At the time I read and reviewed A Thousand Perfect Things, I was completely unsure how to classify it. I think I went for fantasy, but it could be alternate universe, timeshift, weird or even clifi, although it is semi-Victorian in style. What I found was a novel unlike anything I’d read before. Engrossing, full of ideas, and a mysterious thread that wove through many cultures. What I’d find now is something I wonder about. It’s another I’d really like to find the time to reread. I recommend you make its acquaintance. The link is to my original review in 2014, and I’m wondering (a) why I haven’t bought it already, and (b) why I haven’t read all of Kay Kenyon’s books by now. I have now added some, at least, to my TBR!

I want to say so much more about this book.  It flows from one nearly familiar world to another with extraordinary beauty and captivating pace. 

from my review March 2014

Spacetime Challenge

A Thousand Perfect Things qualifies, as does Sue Ann Bowling’s Tourist Trap, which I mentioned under H for Homecoming. To Be Taught, If Fortunate is another from the peerless Becky Chambers, who I keep drawing on! And if you skip to my series choice – that qualifies, too.

Middle Grade Choice

I’ve been trying to find space for Sandra Smith’s Seed Savers series, the first of which is Treasure. This is an important work for nine-years and up, dealing with a world in which the food system is entirely in the hands of corporations, food is rationed in blocks, and growing your own vegetables is illegal. The adventures of the young people in learning about real food through bible study may sound inappropriate, as I felt when I first reviewed it. I was wrong; I realise now that in a totalitarian society, virtually the only way of sharing reactionary ideas is through religious instruction, at least as a cover.

Another treasure is Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. How long is it since you’ve read it? Have you not read it? You should. It stands the test of time extremely well. Arrr, Jim lad,…

Series Choice

The Time Quintet, by Madeleine L’Engle starts with Wrinkle in Time. I’m enjoying the later ones even more, which surprised me. I had hoped to get the next one, Many Waters, fitted in for this A to Z Challenge, but alas, it’ll have to wait 🙂

Notable Books

A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute was a candidate for my Featured book, but I’ve never reviewed it here. But it’s one of my favourite books, and a major driver for my ambition to visit Australia, so I must have read it in the seventies! If you’ve not read it, don’t waste any more time! (link to Goodreads)

Tschiffely’s Ride was one I read even earlier, thanks to the show jumper Pat Smythe, who recommended it in her children’s books about the Three Jays (kids whose name begins with J). Tschiffely bought two local horses and proceeded to ride the length of the Andes-Rockies mountain chain. An adventure story with a real horseman, in real pioneering spirit. I invested in a second edition a few years back. Must read it again. (Link to Goodreads)

Tails of the Apocalypse was a charity anthology that called for stories of how animals coped with the apocalypse. Most are absolutely brilliant, including the guinea pigs who work out how to get out of their cage to get food and water, and help the rest of the pet shop inmates escape too. The most poignant is the dog who knows he’s a good boy, because his mistress told him so. Every time I call one of my animals a good boy, I think of that story. Still.

And my books beginning with T!

Books four and five from the Princelings series and one of my Unexpected Twisty Tales collections…

The Traveler in Black and White is a suitable starting point for grown-ups who want to skip the trilogy for some reason. It’s a prequel, so gives away all the mystery of book 1, but on the other hand, it gets very good reviews. Mariusz, the traveler who is the villain in book 1, is universally described as ‘charming’! Written in US English–the only one that is–but Mariusz, Lord of Hattan, is narrating, so it has to be.

The Talent Seekers features Humphrey, a lonely outcast with some very special talents, who is looking for a home and friends. He’s on a collision path with some very nasty characters, who are determined to destroy Castle White Horse and all it stands for–so the White Horse leaders are desperate for all the talent they can find. Including, as it turns out, Willoughby the Narrator in his first appearance. My Australian readers think this one has too much fighting for MG. My US readers are more worried about the slight implication of smutty goings-on in book 4!

Neither of which is a problem in Time and Tinplate, a collection of around 30 short stories involving time travel, alternate universes, and Sir Woebegone (the tinplate with a magic sword). Fun and pathos, and lots of good short reads (av. 1000 words each) written for my blog audience (i.e. assumed grown-ups)

That’s all for today, so come back tomorrow for more. I’m hoping to meet more people who like the same kinds of book, so feel free to recommend something you’ve read beginning with the letter of the day!

A Thousand Perfect Things | #A2ZChallenge23

10 thoughts on “A Thousand Perfect Things | #A2ZChallenge23

  • 24 April, 2023 at 8:41 am

    Much more food for thought! Thinking of T have you read Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini also author of The Kite Runner both thought provoking and beautiful books. 💜

    • 24 April, 2023 at 9:26 am

      Both have been on my TBR pretty much since they came out 😀 So many books, so little time….

  • 24 April, 2023 at 2:30 pm

    I haven’t thought of Treasure Island in years but was enthralled with it when I was a kid. I’ll have to remember it when Eli gets older. I also recall reading the Neville Shute book many many years ago!

    • 24 April, 2023 at 7:22 pm

      It gets scary when you realise just how long ago it was you read something, isn’t it? Fortunately I read Treasure Island recently (since I started blogging!)

  • 24 April, 2023 at 3:48 pm

    Oh, boy. I shouldn’t be looking at your blog this month. I have to add a bunch of books to the TBR… I read On the Beach back in High School (yes, assigned in class), but never A Town Like Alice. And I still haven’t been to Australia.

    • 24 April, 2023 at 7:20 pm

      Well, from what I saw on Facebook, you’re going to have plenty of time to catchup on your reading for a couple of weeks. How are you doing?

  • 24 April, 2023 at 8:07 pm

    The Spacetime Challenge sounds like wicked fun. Now to see if wordpress will let me play. (It usually doesn’t like my non-google email.) – visiting from a-to-z (https://www.erinpenn.com/blog/)

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