Last year I talked about page-turners and whether or not they always were pulp fiction. I also discussed savoring some books, in particular for me Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese, my favorite book read last year. Now I’d like to discuss books that you savor but also are what I call “brain-tinglers.”
What made me think about this was I have started reading Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami for the Haruki Murakami Reading Challege. You never know quite where Murakami is going and you get the feeling that somehow he doesn’t either. In this way, his writing makes your brain tingle…well, at least it makes my brain tingle.
For example, in this book, one of the main protagonist is involved in a futuristic world with something called shuffling and laundering. It has to do with arranging numbers in your brain, but beyond that, I’m not sure I understand it. A parallel story deals with a man in an ancient land who is reading the dreams from skulls of unicorns. The two stories begin to collide when the first man finds a skull of what possibly could be a unicorn.
And, as Kurt Vonnegut, another author of brain-tinglers, would say, “So it goes.”
A couple of other “brain-tingling” authors, in my opinion, are Isaac Asimov and Ian McDonald, both who wrote in the science fiction genre. I guess Tad Williams, author of The Otherland series, also would qualify. Science fiction especially lends itself to “brain-tinglers,” because the books there normally are outside of the realm of the “normal” world. In that regard, Bernard Malamud, the author of The Natural (which is nothing like the movie), could be put in that category of what might better be called “the surreal.”
Who are some of the authors who might your brain “tingle?” Why do they do that, if you can articulate it?