This week I finally got to read Welcome to Night Vale. For those who don’t know, this is a novel that is an extension of the podcast. I first got this book at ALA in San Francisco and gave it to my sister-in-law. She loved it and it got her hooked on the podcast. Christi got it for me for the holidays last year, but I have put off reading it so I can listen to the audiobook.
5 Things You Should Know:
- This is part of the same world as the podcast, but introduces (and focuses on) new characters.
- Night Vale is horror, but for most ages. There is some minimal violence and no sex. This is good for middle grade kids who enjoy horror as well as for adults who get Lovecraft’s style of horror.
- Cecil Baldwin reads the audiobook and it’s primarily the reason I needed to listen to it. For those who don’t know, Cecil is also the voice of Night Vale. This means he is the primary voice/narrator for the podcasts as well.
- There are snippets of radio broadcasts through the book. There are a couple of guest voices including Retta (who is awesome, especially on Parks and Recreation).
- In Night Vale, Librarians are… well… evil.
5 Things I Loved About Welcome to Night Vale:
- This is not a story about Cecil. So much of the podcast follow’s Cecil’s life or at least his place in Night Vale. While Cecil is in this book (as is his love, Carlos), this isn’t about him.
- Diversity and acceptance are a huge part of Night Vale. One character is constantly changing form. Others have fluid sexuality.
- Connected to that, what is weird to us is common in Night Vale. Lee Marvin, the Librarians, the Glow Cloud, the dog park, and the secret police are taken for granted in Night Vale, but are all foreign to us.
- I love that Cecil did the audiobook. I had to adjust a bit to get use to this not being the podcast and, thus, radio show. At the same time, you could tell how his voice changes when he switched into Cecil the character and back to book reader. It is subtle, but helpful for podcast listeners.
- The audiobook made me watch to catch up on the podcast. Turns out I am WAY behind.
5 People Who Will Like This Book:
- Fans of the podcast will enjoy this. It doesn’t deviate, but is just a different medium and story focus.
- I think middle-grade readers will enjoy this, especially if they are showing an inclination to horror. Boys, especially, may feel a connection to one of the main characters.
- General horror fans, especially those who lean toward Lovecraft and the weirdness of horror, will enjoy this.
- Librarians will enjoy this. The library and librarians play a role in the story.
- I think those who enjoy being immersed in a universe that doesn’t end will like this book because Night Vale is so well developed in the podcasts. There is a large and involved fan community complete with periodic live shows and other books.
Other Books I Read This Week:
- Vagina: A New Biography – one of the Conference Read-Down books from Book Expo about 4 years ago.
- What Was She Thinking? [Notes on a Scandal] – I am pretty sure this is in one of the Book Lust books.
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – I mean, it’s June!
- The Golden Bowl – remind me, the next time I try to read Henry James, that he doesn’t shut up! Apparently he wrote by dictation, which… *SIGH*
- Things Fall Apart – put this in the “white people ruin everything” category. Also, religion ruins everything… this is not limited to white people’s religions.