First, let me thank both Lori at The Next Best Book Blog and author M. Clifford. Lori hosted a contest to win a copy of M. Clifford's new book, The Book. I won.
Aside from uniquely blaming our current government on the horrific situation our hero finds himself in, the best part about this book was the love of literature that simply flowed from the pages. This book is one that truly speaks to lovers of the written (and printed) word. The way Clifford drafts his character's discussion, description and handling of books is reverent, almost sacred. The imagery he uses to describe these character's first experiences with an actual printed book gave me goosebumps. There were numerous allusions, both blatant and indirect to a wide variety of literature. He quoted multiple sources ranging from popular fiction to fairy tales to classics. He used them as inspiration for parts of his story, but managed to do it in a way that doesn't feel as if he is 'borrowing' their ideas in substitute for his own. His written voice is unique enough, even when directly quoting sources, that the words almost felt like entirely new ideas. If you take away nothing else from this book, remember that books are important and have the ability to transform your world and your life. Love them, treasure them, but most importantly, read them.
In this novel, M. Clifford has gifted the reader with both the horrors of a nightmare and the majestic beauty of a dream. His book begins with the words "Don't read the book". But it's more than that. If you read between the lines and apply it to right now, we can instead say, Don't let others think for you. Don't follow blindly. Question everything.