Never been much of a fan of time-travel themed stories. Perhaps it is a concept that is inherently paradoxical, and often in pop-fiction it serves as little more than a means of saying “What if a modern character were placed in [this time period]?” Or of course vice versa. Aside from the shear physics-defying mechanics and technology that would be involved, usually there’s a bit of accountability lost in some of these stories.
Now don’t get me wrong, few can argue the greatness of Back to the Future. And sure, there’re others that come to mind, but there’re also a few less-than-good ones that come to mind as well. As far as I’m concerned, Time Travel as a genre or theme is kind of a turn off for me.
Now, had I known this, I might not have tried a certain audiobook I picked up from the Humble Bundle some time ago known simply as Found, by Margaret Peterson Haddix. Having finished it with a smile, I can safely say that I was pleasantly surprised by the time-travel element that sorta came out of left field for me. Now, this can be totally attested to my ignorance of Margaret Peterson Haddix – and her Missing series – but I’m not afraid to admit it.
Let’s just say this: Normally, I don’t like Time Travel (much). Normally, I don’t like Young Adult, either. But Found was both of these, and I rather enjoyed it. I wonder whether not knowing anything about the book beforehand before reading it enhanced my experience, but I know for certain that no previous knowledge might have prevented me from experiencing it at all. Let that just be a word of caution to everyone out there!
Try reading something outside of your genre, or outside of your interest-range. Or, better yet, pick up a book (or have someone pick one for you) that you know nothing about, and just give it a shot. I have heard of a ritual that people will do where they give each other book-gifts, with brown paper bag covers – so no one but the giver knows what the title, author, genre or whatever is. I guess I’d do this if I knew more people who read books, but hey, in the meantime I’ve got a pile of audiobooks from that Humble Bundle left to go.
Not to mention something that was handed to me by a stranger once, a little paperback called Random Harvest by James Hilton. Was told it was immensely popular – a New York Times bestseller – and, looking at its Wikipedia entry, apparently it was.
But anyway, as for Found, I’d recommend it for anyone into Time Travel, Young Adult Fiction, or mysteries. This is something I would, along with Redwall and The Hobbit, read to my nephew one day.
What books have you found surprising in either content or quality?