I am a reader. I don’t try to confine my reading habits to a particular genre or interest group. I am not only a reader of fantasy or a reader of mysteries; I am most definitely a reader of books. It’s true that me reading literally anything you place in my hands can appear a bit chaotic and unstructured. It’s both easy and incredibly difficult to buy books as gifts for me because there’s a chance I will like anything. Compare it to going to a restaurant with a menu of 50 items. Every item looks appealing, and there’s truly not one thing that jumps out over another. At this point, I suggest my old stand-by approach: Randomly point to something while closing your eyes. Now that is a splendid representation of the element of surprise. What can I say, I thrive for chaos. I live for the shuffle button on Spotify.
With such a penchant for reading anything, I have experienced a vast amount of plotlines, voices, and settings. Oftentimes some of these components can be visible in other stories. It’s very difficult to create something so new that it can be compared to very little. However, there are some books that break through stereotypes and tell a story in such a way that, familiar or not, it sparks new thoughts.
One of my favorite examples of this phenomenon is My Favorite Band Does Not Exist by Robert T. Jeschonek. It is incredibly difficult to explain the plot of this book, but I’ll do my best. First, there are three separate stories that alternate throughout the book. The first plotline involves a boy named Idea Deity. For fun, Idea has created a band called Youforia that doesn’t exist. Youforia has a website, tour dates, discussion boards, and a large number of fans despite the fact that no one has ever heard them play. The second storyline centers on front man Reacher Mirage. Reacher’s band, Youforia, has never played a show. In fact, no one should even know Youforia exists. But somehow, there is a website, complete with information and song titles that Reacher has never released to anyone, even his band mates. Connecting these two characters is the third section of this book. Both characters are reading a novel called Fireskull’s Revenant. Jeschonek includes chapters of Fireskull’s Revenant in the book as well. While this seems truly complex and confusing, Jeschonek easily ties everything together, allowing some aspects to be predictable while leaving others a complete surprise. I felt like I was reading a puzzle in which I had to collect the pieces as the book moved forward. What made this book so enjoyable was the fact that I couldn’t figure out exactly what was happening. It was complex, chaotic, and awesome.