November 8th, 2008

A Pocket Full of Murder

Kitchen-sink books, and why I love them

Book cover of There are books that make me feel quiet and solemn with their lyrical beauty. There are books so tense and electric that my heart pounds and my breath quickens as I approach the climax. There are books that make me laugh out loud, or sometimes even weep along with the characters. And then there are books that make me wriggle with glee because they are just so much fun to read – either because they remind me of favorite books I read as a child, or just because they are their own quirky and ridiculous selves.

Of the latter group, most are middle grade books. Most also fall into a category I like to call "kitchen sink" books, because they contain just about everything but. Swashbuckling adventure. Madcap schemes. Ridiculous disguises. A supporting cast of eccentric characters who may be loveable, or dangerous, or both at once. A plot like a jigsaw puzzle, made up of interlocking episodes. And, as often as not, a narrative style that gleefully breaks the fourth wall and dances on the rubble.

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Now for your turn: How do you feel about kitchen-sink stories? Do you enjoy them? What other books or movies would you recommend that fit into this category?

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* It also contains a giant octopus of immense personality, which I am sure lizbee will be pleased to know.
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