The Book on Fire PDF/EPUB ↠ The Book eBook æ


The Book on Fire [PDF / EPUB] The Book on Fire Balthazar book thief and bon vivant arrives in Alexandria to steal from the famous library But from the moment he steps off the boat a veiled figure shadows him Zeinab literary prostitute and avenging Balthazar book thief and bon vivant arrives in Alexandria to steal from The Book eBook æ the famous library But from the moment he steps off the boat a veiled figure shadows him Zeinab literary prostitute and avenging ghost will be his chaperone through the city of books With her help he succeeds in penetrating the underground library But once inside instead of ransacking it he becomes obsessed with the youngest librarian Shireen who was born in the library and is herself than half book Their love story forms the heart of the novel Balthazar schemes to get Shireen out of the library But Zeinab has plans of her own In sumptuous evocative prose The Book on Fire explores the relationships between creation and destruction between belief and imagination between desire and fulfillment This new edition contains the bonus story City of Bones and a brand new cover Ursula K Le Guin said of Keith Miller 's first novel The Book of Flying that it was original in concept and elegant in language and Booklist called it a beautiful and haunting modern fable that reads like exuisite poetry This second novel amply fulfills the promise of the first.


10 thoughts on “The Book on Fire

  1. says:

    What a delightful start Call me Balthazar Call me silverfish sweet dreams the end of the rainbow Call me dust devilnight owl will o the wisp Call me man in the moon But call me Balthazar and place a book in my hands And what book is that the book I reach for? this book is to be read slowly a bit like drinking turkish coffee conjured images inhaled words held in the mouth and rolled on the tongued savoured again and again


  2. says:

    An unusual book After I stopped trying to figure out the time frame I really enjoyed it The setting is Alexandria The library is still intact but no one is ever allowed in Balthazar and his friends are all “thieves” He is a book thief another copies pictures another steals “secrets” from people’s pockets Suspend figuring out when and what is happening and just enjoy the book It is about reading and readers who love books There is a sensuousness even eroticism about the descriptions of reading “The cover of a book is a portal you open at your peril Do you love to read? I’m talking about nestling in a pool of candlelight and cradling a book like a baby in your lap and nudging the corner upward with your thumb the whorls snagging the grain of the paper and hearing the soft sizzle as the page turns Do you love to read?”The author is also a wonderful writer Another sentence that hooked me strolling alongbeside one of the canals where the Nile frayed into the delta”


  3. says:

    Miller's second book is different from his first it is crueler less naive primal The violence is closer to the surface the humans are human the magic is tempered with sorrow but it retains the same mystical power over the reader as The Book of Flying Balthazar the morally uestionable protagonist is less sympathetic than Pico the librarian but no less compelling and it can be argued that he loves books This is not a book for all readers not even all readers who loved Miller's first It's crude in some places rough around the edges in others the characters aren't sympathetic and the ending is ambiguous But I have never seen articulated so clearly anywhere else what it means to be truly in love with books Many books talk about booklovers or the love of reading but in vague noncommittal terms They don't explain adeuately how it possesses you how it can matter than food or sleep or sex It's clear that Miller is a reader in the deepest sense of the word and no matter what other flaws this book may have it speaks straight to like minded hearts on that point


  4. says:

    Keith Miller writes like nobody else He writes fiction like poetry I could read his paragraphs over and over just for the beauty of the writing Reading his book is an experience of the five senses The plot is geniusThis is a book for people who love books stories myths This is for people who love all kinds of books the smell of books the fonts of books Only a book lover will be able to appreciate Keith Miller I feel 99% of the population won't get all they can from this book and I'm not even sure I'm in the 99% It is a rare book where there are multiple words I have to look up Keith Miller should be well read famous He is a gem and I cannot wait for his next book


  5. says:

    I wanted to love this book Earlier this year I read The Book of Flying by Miller and was madly in love by the end of the first page The language and the characters and the story had me dizzy It was that goodI looked him up to see if he had other books and ordered The Book on Fire after not being able to find it at the library or in stock at the bookstore It arrived and landed at the top of my To Be Read pile while I finished up a few other books I kept looking at it excited that it was there and ready to dive inI liked how it started and settled in happilyAnd then it started to dragAnd then I didn’t really care what was happeningAnd then it sat unfinished while I read a few other booksMaybe my hopes were too high Maybe I loved The Book of Flying so much that this was bound to be a letdown I’m not sure why this didn’t work for me The book is about books and loving books and what people do to feed their addiction to books The main character is Balthazar a book thief who follows the scent and promise of books He has created a collection for himself that he keeps close and are only for him Other books he gladly trades and makes a living feeding other readers’ addictions He arrives in Alexandria to break into the famous library but he has no plan on how to proceed The library is unlike anything he’s ever faced At one time it was open to all but things have changed and it is locked to the world and no books are ever sent out It is guarded by fierce and deadly protectors Those foolish enough to try to break in are mercilessly killed and their bodies are left to rot on the gates as a warning to othersBalthazar is soon tailed by a mysterious figure named Zeinab Is she a ghost? A prostitute? A woman? He is obsessed and disgusted by her and the two feed each other’s book addictions even though Zeinab destroys what Balthazar wantsEventually Balthazar figures out the riddle of the library and breaks in Overcome with the decadence of pages words stories smells shelves inks pictures and his forbidden presence he nearly drowns in his success His thievery serves him well and he is able to hide from the murderous librarians while living in the stacksAnd then he sees ShireenShireen was born in the library from the books themselves and like his books Balthazar must posses her open her learn her stories and memorize her lines His addiction changes and I couldn’t tell if it was love lust the challenge the forbidden nature or friendshipI really liked when Balthazar and Shireen first meet and reading their interactions as they try to figure out what to do with each other They are both obsessed and afraid and watching their relationship change was good Unfortunately I began to not like Balthazar at this point At first I liked him a lot because of his obsession with books and his code of thievery He lives in grandeur yet poverty The friends he joins when he arrives in Alexandria make a wonderful supporting cast and I liked watching them all swirl around each other while they fed their individual addictions They are both connected to each other and completely alone When he meets Shireen however his addiction becomes cruel and he punishes her when he cannot possess herReading other reviews this is described as a love story but I didn’t feel it I wanted Shireen to be stronger and when she was I wanted Balthazar himself to become stronger because of her To me it felt like Balthazar was convinced he was rescuing her but was he simply trying to steal her for himself? Even when he wallowed in withdrawal and despair I didn’t feel any love It was that he was in agony because he was being denied a thing not a person It felt like a child having a tantrum not a man in loveI did like most of the ending Zeinab’s story is told and then finished Everything becomes violent and a pure destruction emerges and yet suddenly things feel peaceful I wanted to stay with Zeinab but Balthazar and Shireen still had their own lives and their stories needed to be finished While I did like their endings I found myself wishing this was Zeinab’s story and that the other two would be an epilogue when she was doneI wonder if this would have been a five star book for me if I had read it before The Book of Flying I liked the darkness I liked the cruel moments that came from the other characters because they happened in honest moments I didn’t feel like Balthazar was honest in his desires The other addictions are pure but for some reason I felt like Balthazar was about possession not about fulfillment I can’t uite explain it but I’m sure if you’re sympathetic to him you will like this book than I did


  6. says:

    The Book on Fire by Keith MillerThe genre is fictional fantasy so don’t make the mistake I did in trying to make all the pieces fit perfectly Balthazar the book thief enters the fictional world Alexandria Egypt in the early 1920’s with the intent of breaking into the most famous library in the world The library has been closed to the public for reasons no one was really sure but it is heavily guarded by an ascetic group of women librarians wearing grey gowns with shaven heads who have been trained in the martial arts and instructed to kill any outsider that enters With a conspiracy in place to keep the location a secret Balthazar stumbles blindly through back alleys and finds its location As he is looking in from the outside he meets Zeinab a literary prostitute and avenging ghost whose goal is to burn the books She becomes Balthazar’s chaperone through the city of books and gives him instructions how to enter the library via the underworld of Alexandria Here he secretly spies on Shireen a young librarian who was born in the library and believes she was spawn from a book so she keeps looking for the book that is her “mother” Balthazar recognizes a kindred spirit by the way she reads and her slumped posture He begins leaving secret messages for her in the books she has pulled from the shelf to read Meantime Zeinab introduces him to Kanisa Prometheus a church of demons on the loose from 200 am to 400 am while others sleep They brake in and steal only the most valuable books their senses fine tuned to the smell of an especially valuable book One of the most beautifully written books I have read but bat times bordering on feeling obfuscate Reminded me of Fahrenheit 451 45 stars


  7. says:

    I have such mixed feelings After reading The Book of Flying I was happy to learn of this novel Miller has a beautiful brutal writing style that isn't afraid to wax poetic Books are once the heart of character motivation and plot It is a genuine celebration of reading the act the form the function I will raise the same caution as with The Book of Flying in that you may grow tired of the lyrical bleeding heart descriptions of books perhaps even growing tired of the word itself by the end Now to address specificsview spoilerMiller definitely goes in a carnal direction in this one describing the scent of Alexandria by many visceral terms but I was done with wet cunt Many elements are described in this fashion with body fluids and sexual language that I couldn't decide the purpose of I mean really truly why that? And why so much the female body so than male? Fully understanding the feminization of cities this became a bit perverse I started feeling uncomfortable wondering if this was meant to be Balthazar's thoughts or the author'sThere was also the moment when Balthazar encounters the library for the first time He has an erection and then messes his pants which is described down to how his fluids dried Did we need that? Did we need to have that experience Miller? 'cause it didn't enhance the story and I'm about sex positivity hereZeinab's treatment brought this discomfort to the surface even She was painted as beautiful in her mystery her blatant disregard for that which Balthazar loved than anything and which the city revered her thievery and violence? The part where she just randomly takes his wrist and presses her blade to it just to see the color of his blood was such a manic pixie dream girl moment that I actually rolled my eyes It served no purpose other than demonstrating how dangerous she is with her wicked little blade Alright Balthazar You slept with her she burned your book she'll draw blood you're afraid of her and you don't know her but in a way you love her Those are all just actions without known motivation and that's not a personalityZeinab didn't become three dimensional until the end of the book when it's confirmed that she's a spirit seeking her death through the release of the books of the library which is done by burning them I honestly wasn't sure if this was a literal release à la magical realism where the books would appear somewhere else in the world or if this was a metaphorical release Either way I completely understood why she had such a vendetta against the city's preoccupation with books and why she wanted to burn the library Took 260 pages to get there but I understoodShireen was also not that deep for me Yes she was interesting but we never got the answers behind her existence that might have made her three dimensional She's a recluse discovers the world but isn't suited to its reality claims the reflections of the reflections are real and it was truly interesting when she said how Aslan would be forever changed by the real worn suffering lions she had seen That the roughness of the world only enhanced the images she grew with A rose is just a rose the sea is far untidy than she thought That was all very interesting to meBut I wanted to know More about her sisters about her training about what she truly wanted for herself What was her vision of the future? What mysteries did she wish to uncover for herself?Balthazar's burning of the library must have been utterly devastating to her separating her from the very beings that gave her life and a pseudo family that raised her Sure she felt separate and different from them but surely she must have at least cared about their safety? Could we have gotten away from the I'm not like other girls I feel so disconnected I really don't have anyone thing and actually give a leading female character I dunno strong preexisting relationships that could withstand her romance?But they abandon their friends and family to take the special tram to sexy town so I guess it's about art than people making senseLooking at all other characters Miller did spend time illustrating the other thieves and gave us conversations that really let us in to their lives and motivations I just didn't feel that way with Shireen and Zeinab until the very end which might be a purposeful storytelling choice or just another way to romanticize female characters into archetypes Eh hide spoiler


  8. says:

    Not nearly as good as The Book of Flying but still a wonderful piece of fantasy by Keith MillerThe Book on Fire delves even deeper into Mr Miller’s love affair with the written word to a city where books are worshipped in a grand and ancient libraryThe story is somewhat lacking unlike in TBOF but the resplendent imagery the beautiful poetry and the vivid characters are all thereA very worthy read and a good follow up to his first amazing effort


  9. says:

    An intense love for books fuels this story You can feel it oozing from the pages A love of books of words and of stories Beyond that love however the story itself did not pull me in like Miller's first book It was just a bit too undefined overall for me


  10. says:

    A book thief lands in a fantastical version of the legendary Alexandria to steal from his ultimate library and falls in love with a librarian working there I'm not sure if the author loves libraries or librarians considering that his previous book The Book of Flying was along similar lines but I have to admit it works for me I almost feel embarrassed to say how much I enjoyed reading this book but I can't really explain why I was already enad with Alexandria after reading the Durrell uartet and this made it so much worseThe writing is very descriptive and I'm tempted to say overly so except I don't feel it is Most of the time if I pick up a book that spends half its time describing smells and food it reads like filler but here it serves to place the reader into his vision of Alexandria I found myself drawn in and living in the world as I read which doesn't happen often as an adult I also ended up hungryThere are elements of the writing and of the storytelling that are the same elements I love in Catherynne Valente's writing and anyone knows me knows that is high praise indeed After reading a little about the author himself I feel like you can see glimpses of his real life experiences tucked into this book as far from reality as it seemsThis is the true heart of the city this street of cubbyholes of stacked paper The library is of course its soul but it is hiddenThat's the difference between heroin and literature The drugs you take are lonely voyages I can share your needle but I can't share your trip Each reading is separate to be sure but I can come much closer to another person's experienceYou fall deeper into a book The others flip through the pages their eyes are always floating up but you drownFirst readings are like first kisses you can't remember the taste the shape of the other's lips you have only a heady sensation of stained glass shatteringTo read a cherished book aloud to someone who also knows the book by heart is an experience closer than any other conversation closer than making love; the same reefs and swells crossed at the same time the chuckles rising in tandem You feel you're speaking into her blood


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