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The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly

The Book of Lost Things (original 2008; edition 2011)

by John Connolly

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
5,078289884 (3.98)2 / 447
Title:The Book of Lost Things
Authors:John Connolly
Info:Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (2011), Edition: Original, Paperback, 368 pages
Collections:Your library, Read but unowned

Work details

The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly (2008)

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English (284)  Spanish (2)  German (2)  French (2)  All languages (290)
Showing 1-5 of 284 (next | show all)
Well I just loved this. I cried twice in the first five pages and finished in two days. And I really loved the appendix at the end with the author's comments on the fairy tales he weaved into his own book. It's a bit dark, but it's an amazing work about the power of books, the way they instruct our understanding of the world, and the ways they help us wade through the murky uncharted waters of life. ( )
  aclaybasket13 | Jul 29, 2016 |
“For in every adult there dwells the child that was, and in every child there lies the adult that will be.”
― John Connolly, The Book of Lost Things

I love the cover of this book, so beautiful !

This book is my favorite book of all time . I often reread it , i feel it pulling me back in , tempting me to dive in its beautiful world of adventures once again. so finally i decided to post my thoughts about it.

One thing you should know about me , is that I LOVE fairy-tales , especially those who contain a dark twist . and oh my .. this book gave me everything.

The world that the author created was absolutely mesmerizing , the world building was impeccable that I actually felt like i was there, you could feel the magic around you , the air of that forest , and the howling of the wolves , it was detailed enough that you can see the place clearly but not too much that it became boring.

This is not a young adult book like I expected . it was very dark , and some parts are just so twisted but very well written . the pacing of the story was also good , it took me a few pages to get into it , but once i did , it was impossible not to continue and not want more , so i would say that this is definitely a page turner .

I also loved all the characters in this book , they seemed so real . and i absolutely ADORED David , all his flaws made him more relatable and more human, in this story I believe we follow him in a journey of finding himself rather than finding his mother .

The characters and the magical world building was very well written which made the experience of reading this book so vivid. i also enjoyed the dark fairy-tales included in this book , it's something different , in a good way of course.

The ending of this book tore me to pieces, it's the most perfectly written ending that i have ever encountered in a book. i cried so much . it is the kind of book that stays in your head even after you finish it.

I would recommend it to everyone , because i feel like it's something that must be read at least once in our lives. ( )
  Spymer | Jul 23, 2016 |
Dark story of a child growing up in war and learning to cope with the death of a mother. Well written. The ending well suits the book, it's a mix of the "hardness" of life with the refuge we find in fairy tales. ( )
  ralu1150 | Jul 15, 2016 |
The retelling of several classic fairy tales in this story of a young boy suffering from a profound loss was fast paced and suspenseful. It quickly progressed from the nonsensical to dark, and I mean Brothers Grimm dark. Overall it was the journey of a child gaining the understanding and awareness needed to become an adult. ( )
  wandaly | Jun 30, 2016 |
Potential Spoilers

This has been sitting on my kindle for ages. My first experience (and, prior to this novel, only) with Connolly being his Nocturnes, I had the idea that this would be similar- a book of short stories inspired by fairy tales and myths. I really liked Nocturnes but I completely forgot about this novel until it popped up on someone's currently-reading here on Goodreads and I remembered my electronically shelved version and it's prolonged patience.

I'd say I like this novel even more than Nocturnes. It deftly inspires the turning of (flicking through) pages and I identified with the grieving child/grief-shaped adolescence theme. Even more so with the escaping into books as a coping mechanism theme. I enjoyed that the ending was rather ambiguous and left up to personal interpretation- reminding me of most of the "children's stories" I preferred when I was younger. I always liked something open stirring amidst an intriguing story- something that pulled at my mind or emotions and would be differently filled and fleshed by whatever I was currently experiencing or thinking.

I did find David's anger interesting. Just because I remember how it was when my own grief rent it's hold and tear in my life and how I kept encountering adults who said things like, "I know how angry you are," or, accountable to the area I was living in at the time which was laced intricately with dozens upon dozens of churches, "I know how angry you are at god but he works in mysterious ways," and similar refrains. I already had baggage by that time and I was more numb than angry because I dealt with everything by being extremely closed off and "logical". Because that was what I saw in books during that time- if you were logical (stayed on the path, so to speak) and worked out the issue at hand to the best of your ability then you got through the scrapes and struggles as they came. Anger, jealousy, etc. had their place- everyone felt them - but they didn't help you at all or make things change for the better. So I stayed on my path and it held its own complication as paths are wont to do.

So, from that personal path, viewing "the grieving child" as other and as a different path-taker, was complex and intriguing. I also felt it poignant in the hunteress' storyline children were brutally attached to animals that the hunteress thought suited them or interested her for some reason. In his notes, Connolly wraps up the fear of this rather well, saying that it's our fear of being taken over by that which is other and that, in the inspiring story The Three Surgeons, "each of the surgeons finds that his individuality, even his consciousness, is under threat because of the addition of elements of beings alien to him." Which I have somewhat intertwined with David's story and the theme of grief/anger/abandonment/betrayal as a metaphor for that imbalance one feels as a child when the death of someone vital or some naivete previously held appears. As your life is taken over by something "other," so are your emotions and previous way of dealing with/seeing the world.

That being said, I'm pretty sure that the hunteress resonates with me as a casted line into the depths of my H.G. Wells love. The creations eventually turning on the creator, the question of whether it is the animal, the child/person, or the combination that drives them to strike back. Also, you can't skip over the import of the story for its time. As Connolly puts it, "particularly relevant to those in the early nineteenth century who had reason to fear physicians as much as need them." After a spate of reading Victorian Lit, this definitely brought about some interest concerning the Grimm's version of The Three Army Surgeons in that their arrogance is represented along with their skill.

I don't think there is a book-loving child out there who hasn't felt a kinship in the mass-appeal Disney version of Beauty and the Beast. I felt more kinship with it than with Beaumont's original Beauty and the Beast because I hated that the Beast kept asking Beauty to marry him and she felt so much guilt and awkwardness in their friendship because of it. I always wished that he would ask her once and let it rest until she comes back to witness him dying and it's that spurt of emotion and edge of loss that opens up a wealth of love previously hidden from her because in her initial fear of the beast and confusion as to his true nature she felt the need to not react to her growing feelings until confronted with the loss of their cause. The continual asking and Beauty's nature just aggravated even as a kid. However, for the era, it is poignant of it's own right.

That wasn't the only fairy tale that I'd have shaped differently. I remember being supremely annoyed at the Prince's liberties in Sleeping Beauty and spending days writing and rewriting alternate versions. Thankfully I never read the earlier tale by Basile as a kid.

I was grateful for the introduction to Robert Browning's Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came; there's always a towering turret of course but I'd never experience Browning's verse on such before and I love it. I can understand why Connolly says the Browning is one of his favorite poets in his notes. The imagery is wonderful and the end is either frustrating or really inspiring.

All that being said, this was a very good book and I loved reading through Connolly's notes almost as much as the story itself. ( )
  lamotamant | Jun 23, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 284 (next | show all)
In addition to borrowing The Woodsman and Roland from ancient tales, Connolly brings in such bedtime-story stalwarts as Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Hansel and Gretel, and Little Red Riding Hood. But he takes outrageous, albeit entertaining, liberties with these characters, exchanging their virtues for canyon-size failures of character.
added by Stir | editUSA Today, Susan Kelly (Dec 20, 2006)
This is an adult novel steeped in children's literature that cannily makes its 1940s junior protagonist credibly ignorant of aspects which the grown-up reader, or any modern kid, will catch at once.

Written in the clear, evocative manner of the best British fairy tales from JM Barrie to CS Lewis, The Book of Lost Things is an engaging, magical, thoughtful read.
added by Stir | editThe Independent, Kim Newman (Sep 25, 2006)
Good ideas, these afterthoughts, every one; but rather than go back and write them in, he sticks them down in the pluperfect and hurries on. The result is less a novel in any genre than a catalogue, a dispiritingly detailed outline for something Connolly might like to write, if he only had the time, or the talent, or a decent editor.
added by Stir | editThe Guardian, Colin Greenland (Sep 22, 2006)

» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Connolly, Johnprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bortolussi, StefanoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ryan, RobCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Deeper meaning resides in the fairy tales told to me in my childhood than in the truth that is taught by life. - Friedrich Schiller (1759-1805)
Everything you can imagine is real. - Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)
This book is dedicated to an adult, Jennifer Ridyard, and to Cameron and Alistair Ridyard, who will be adults too soon. For in every adult dwells the child that was, and in every child lies the adult that will be.
First words
Once upon a time—for that is how all stories should begin—there was a boy who lost his mother.
He would talk to them of stories and books, and explain to them how stories wanted to be told and books wanted to be read, and how everything that they ever needed to know about life and the land of which he wrote, or about any land or realm that they could imagine, was contained in books. And some of the children understood, and some did not.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 074329890X, Paperback)

High in his attic bedroom, twelve-year-old David mourns the death of his mother, with only the books on his shelf for company. But those books have begun to whisper to him in the darkness. Angry and alone, he takes refuge in his imagination and soon finds that reality and fantasy have begun to meld. While his family falls apart around him, David is violently propelled into a world that is a strange reflection of his own -- populated by heroes and monsters and ruled by a faded king who keeps his secrets in a mysterious book, The Book of Lost Things.

Taking readers on a vivid journey through the loss of innocence into adulthood and beyond, New York Times bestselling author John Connolly tells a dark and compelling tale that reminds us of the enduring power of stories in our lives.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:34 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Taking refuge in fairy tales after the loss of his mother, twelve-year-old David finds himself violently propelled into an imaginary land in which the boundaries of fantasy and reality are disturbingly melded.

(summary from another edition)

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