Audio to Visual and Other Monsters

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Quick note before you get too into this: I broke my rules. This isn’t a random pick or a review this week. It’s Halloween time and I wanted to pick Welcome to Night Vale since it just arrived in the mail and smells oh so fresh.

Welcome to Night Vale actually began as a podcast that gained popularity over the past two years. Known for it’s quirky and mysterious material, it tells tales of strange happenings in one town by ways of a radio show. Nothing in the town of Night Vale is normal, and that’s just fine by me.

NightVale

THE FEEL

Beautiful and just how it should be. When this book came in the mail, I took more care opening the cardboard box than I did some recent clothes I got. Honestly, I had pre-ordered this book so long ago I had forgotten about it. Luckily, Amazon reminded me of its arrival just a few days before. The loud knocking of the delivery man woke up half my house (I live with a lot of nappers). I didn’t care though. I ran to the doorstep and grabbed the book with glee.

The book feels surprisingly light for a hardcover. Weight wise, it feels cheap. Like some children’s hardcover once forgotten in the back of a library. That’s the only part about it that does feel poor, however. The print and colors of the books are vibrant. The paper crisp yet slightly worn to not feel too official. It fits the tone of the podcast and universe Welcome to Night Vale has created perfectly…and I haven’t even read a word yet!

THE RUNDOWN (WHAT I READ)

To try to begin to explain this book would take hours of my time and your time that neither of us have. This book encompasses a new side of Night Vale that I hadn’t seen before. Is it still weird? Yes. Does it seem random but all tie together in some brilliant way? You bet ya. Where it strays the most from the feel of the many Night Vale podcasts comes in the characters the story presents. It still focuses on Cecil’s radio show every few chapters – but follows two women primarily. They struggle with weird forces (or are they normal in this town?) and even weirder characters.

I really can’t say much about the plot and I also don’t want to! Go check this one out. Dare to explore the uncertain and have fun with this one while the universe of Night Vale is so alive and expansive.

THE (not so) THREE HOUR READ

So I have to admit I haven’t quite gotten that far into this book yet. No, I’m not getting lazy. I just need to take my time with this one. I want to take my time with this one! Welcome to Night Vale sits next to my bed like a fine wine. Begging for me to reach out and indulge. I know better though. I have to let this one read naturally rather than looking at it like some blog assignment!

So, that’s why this post won’t be some review on the book or how it’s affected me. No. Rather, I’d like to spend this time expanding on some of the thoughts I gathered while reading. The fandom and life that is Night Vale so beautifully expands past just something to tune into every month. The creators reach out to the fans. The fans reach out to the creators. They have gone on an insane number of live tours and I’ve already seen them do live readings twice. That’s dedication on both end, folks.

The tone of Night Vale excels it above the rest and is something I’d like to see from more modern works. In a sort of Twilight Zone-esq way, it takes wacky and impossible ideas and relates them to our own dull lives. The book constantly calls out to its reader, and it really makes you feel a part of the journey. What amazes me is how after closing the book, I remain trapped in its pages. Thinking about some point I read throughout my work day. Night Vale gives us the strange and leaves us feeling like the weirdos. Every character in the world feels so human, even though a lot of them probably aren’t.

It’s in the characters that Night Vale shines. You root for almost all of them – even if you know nothing more than one man’s ability to be mysterious. Seriously. That’s all we know. Yet why do I feel attached to him? Because the descriptions and thoughts of other characters make me feel so. The book teases me with soft descriptions of Night Vale’s inhabitants and my mind fills the rest. It’d be interesting to get together and have some people draw their ideas of how the town looks…the book grants that much imaginary freedom.

THE VERDICT

I love it. I really do. You should to. Weird, lovely, and beckoning me to tell you more, Welcome to Night Vale provides a wonderful literary way to grab people into its world and reward those already there.

No rating this time because I didn’t do this to review, rather share my pleasures.

Interested in the book? Check out Welcome to Night Vale: A Novel on Amazon.

How about the podcast? You should totally check out the podcast.

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