Thursday, January 21, 2010

best books ever: the book of flying

This, along with several other works-in-progress I'll hopefully be posting soon, was directly inspired by my rereading of one of my very, very favorite books of all time. And guess what! I'm going to tell you all about it, in this first installment of THE BEST BOOKS EVER!!!

Volume 1: The Book of Flying, by Keith Miller.

This book is possibly the closest thing to a perfect story I have ever read. This book helps you understand what real magic is. This book makes me have to draw, because this book is brimming with paintings turned into words.

The story is about a lonely librarian named Pico who lives in a city by the sea where nobody knows how to read. He falls in love with a winged girl who can never be with someone who can't fly, so his sets off on a quest to find the mythical "morning town" of Paunpuam and gain his own pair of wings. Pico's journey is episodic; he travels through deep forest, over mountains, and across a desert. As he meets each new character, they tell him their own story, and then move out of the tale as he journeys onward and eastward. One review called it "a book about books, a story about stories," which I think is charming and accurate.

The writing is like poetry, full of images and metaphors. It's flowery, but not in a pretentious way, just for the sheer love of words. For someone who loves books and adventures and magic as much as Pico does - namely, myself - it's everything I wish I could express in my art.

My very favorite part of the story, the part that has inspired all these doodles I'm working on, is the city in the mountains where Pico rests for a few months and nearly gives up his quest altogether. I don't blame him. In this nameless city that's kind of a rainy cobblestoned Bohemian Paris-London mashup (in my mind, at least):
1. It rains all the time, and
2. Everybody reads all the time.
So of course... I would be very happy living there.

"A city of squalls, foggy mornings, intervals of blue and white so immaculate the eyes ached. A city of readers, coffee drinkers, kissers on sidewalks, sad faces at wet windows. A city of umbrellas, woolen scarves, raincoats, cigarettes, wineglasses, cognac."



*My most recent Etsy treasury matches this theme and artwork very well, although the correlation wasn't intentional.


nomadcraftsetc said...

WOW! What a lovely book! I like the treasury-they seem like two peas in a pod!

My Life Under the Bus said...

That picture is GORGEOUS !!!! Quite a lovely treasury also. Have a great weekend, Patty

Elizabeth said...

Hi! Saw your post in the etsy forums. I love to read, this sounds amazing. Your love for it is very evident.
Your painting is gorgeous!
Hope you'll stop by, I"m giving away some books.

Fern said...


Pattie said...

Gorgeous! I love her hat lol

I might just have to check this book out