The Mysterious Benedict Society (by Trenton Lee Stewart) is so addictive. I’m on his latest sequel now, The MBS and the Prisoner’s Dilemma. It’s a book for young readers, but the author never speaks down to them. In fact, the writing style is very classy, but also engaging enough for children (judging from its numerous accolades). Kudos to him!There’s something about reading children’s books. It’s like returning home and settling under the covers at the end of the day, knowing you’re safe and protected. Maybe that’s the reason why children’s stories are able to reach such a wide audience.

(Oh, and on a sidenote, if you were wondering what happened to my New Year resolution to become a vegetarian, here’s an update: I’ve been eating meat everyday since I wrote that resolution down. I keep telling myself every time I slip that tomorrow, tomorrow I’ll become a vegetarian. But maybe it’s just not in my blood to become one. I love meat too much. I’m sorry, Earth and the animals.)

Now, back to books. If anyone knows of books with madness and romance in them, please recommend them to me. I’m dying for something with this combination. I borrowed Steppenwolf (by Hermann Hesse), and I don’t know, maybe I was expecting something else, something more dramatic. But the alienated Steppenwolf is shaping up to be simply a misanthropic loner who despises bourgeoise society, not some broken, murderous man looking for love and salvation.

There’s this book called Shadows, however, by Joan de la Haye, as recommended by Marcia Colette, writer. Here’s the blurb:

Sarah is forced to the edge of sanity by the ghosts of her family’s past. Suffering from violent and bloody hallucinations, she seeks the help of psychiatrist and friend, Michael Brink.

After being sent to an institution in a catatonic state covered in blood – from stabbing her unfaithful boyfriend – Sarah is forced to confront the truth about her father’s death and the demon, Jack, who caused her father’s suicide and who is now the reason for her horrific hallucinations. Unlike her father, Sarah refuses to kill herself. She bargains for her life and succeeds.

In Sarah’s struggle to regain her life and her sanity, she discovers there is more to the world than she could ever have imagined, and it leaves her seeking the answer to the nagging question, “Who is really mad?”

That, honey, is what I’m looking for. I think all of us are a little crazy. It’s only whether we’re willing to explore that side of ourselves. I mean, who’s to say what I think is crazy isn’t just someone else’s version of what’s normal, right? The thing about those we deem as madmen is that they are able to justify their thoughts, their actions. They are the heroes of their worlds, as we are of ours. So don’t you think it’s fascinating to understand what’s going through their minds as they go about their ‘crazy’ lives? If I were proficient enough, I’d definitely write a novel with a misunderstood character.

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