Magic for Beginners by Kelly Link

I started this book over Christmas and finished it in March. It’s the only fiction book I read and reflected on over the spring because there was a lot of research reading I was doing as a result of my diagnosis. That was planned. Other than Drew Magary’s novel The Hike, this book, and starting Benjamin Percy’s first novel The Wilding, I didn’t do a lot of fiction reading. I realize that’s problematic for a developing fiction writer, but, there’s only so much time and I felt a great need to understand my condition better. 

I plan on primarily reading fiction this summer as I write short stories, some comics, and some film.

Anyway! This book was freaking awesome. It took me some time to figure out what I thought of the book, some of my margin notes read like: “Like every line is constructed for laughs and then what the—?! Moments, then a final emotion hit.” 

My final note, though, is after the title story: “Magic For Beginners.” And it talks about I learned. That I need to make my novel series: The Human Library more fantastical. 

I also loved the stories Catskin and The Great Divorce. But most of all what I learned from this book is that it’s okay to lean into my weirdness, my sense of humor, and sense of the fantastic.

My diagnosis makes me a quirky guy and that’s okay–I’ll layer that into my fiction. 

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