book one: the museum of extraordinary things by alice hoffman

whenever a new project starts, there are some initial difficulties, some time needs to pass for everything to work smoothly. as rahel and i tend to plan our yearly projects rather late and last minute, we yet again didn’t have much time to truly think ahead, which is why choosing this first book was a bit stressful. well, it didn’t have to be, but fates conspired against us and the novel we rather quickly and unanimously agreed on (i shan’t disclose what it was, seeing as we’ll probably read it at some other point), was out of stock everywhere ever and therefore couldn’t be the first book on this new version of our blog. multiple phone calls with rahel wandering about in a book store and my doing the research on whatever literary piece she happened to pick up via goodreads led to our finally choosing the museum of extraordinary things by alice hoffman.
we really like the idea of this project going beyond just the two of us, so in order to encourage people to read along, we have decided to take turns in writing a quick summary of what we’ll be reading in the weeks to come at the beginning of each month. to lure y’all into just having to read whatever we choose, too.

our shared obsession with most things fantasy (harry potter, anyone? the night circus?) drew us to this novel by american author alice hoffman, whose works have been read by ya fantasy and magical realism lovers worldwide and in the case of practical magic even been adapted for film. winter is a great time to be reading magical things, i find. there’s just something about being huddled up in bed or on the couch with a cup of steaming hot tea or cocoa and completely immersing oneself into an entirely different and foreign world.

the novel is set in coney island, which is also the setting for the sequel of our favourite musical ever, the phantom of the opera, and therefore immediately of interest to us. the fact that the plot is set in the earlier twentieth century makes it all the more intriguing. from what i gathered through reading summaries and blurbs, the story follows coralie sardie, whose father is the owner of “the museum of extraordinary things”, and whom, being a fantastic swimmer, she works for as a “mermaid”, performing for the museum’s visitors. on a fateful moonlit night she bumps into a young man by the name of eddie tailor, a russian immigrant who wants to flee a life that seems predetermined by his job as an apprentice tailor and his father’s strict religious views. what follows appears to be a story about romance and magic (which can be the same thing) and mystery and in summary, i’m really excited about reading it.

for the first instalment we’ll be reading the chapters one to three, until it’s time for the first leeeetteeerrrrsssss.

anyway. i’m off to start reading.
p.s. one last thing. minor. not really. semi-minor. in addition to the thousands of things we already do, we have decided to send one another a playlist containing ten songs on the first of each month. the list can contain new discoveries, old favourites and guilty pleasures (bms. for. life). and because we’re both great people *cough* and love to share, we shall be sharing those playlists with you each month. who knows, maybe your next musical crush will be amongst them (chrm matt corby chrm).

rahel’s playlist

gioia’s playlist


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