So, my next book on the Top 40 list was Shelf Monkey – I had no idea what the book was about but, once I started, I couldn’t put it down. I think I blew through it in 3 days. I adored this book! The first thing I thought was “It’s weird” – and this is what my sister kept telling me when I lent it to her after I’d finished.
It really is weird – it’s written as a bunch of emails with short newspaper clippings interspersed that fill in the gaps left by the main character (writing the emails). The structure actually reminded me quite a lot of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, which I read just before Shelf Monkey (even though it wasn’t on the Top 40 list). Timeline-wise, the novel starts towards the end of the story and leaves you wondering right from the get-go. “What in the world is he referring to?” rattles around in your brain for the first few “chapters,” until you start getting into the meat of the story. In short, our main character starts off simply needing a job and ends up mixed up in a criminal act that has him running from everyone in, what feels like, the world. But the author leaves you hanging until the. very. end.
I loved the Canadiana references & mentions of Canadian authors and novels in this book. I got a thrill when I could identify who or what was being named, and felt a bit ashamed if a name didn’t jog anything in my memory. This was definitely a novel that bibliophiles can relate to – especially the bits about “good” and “bad” literature. Surprising, entertaining, odd.
This is my favourite read from the list so far and I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoys kicking back with a book.