Of course we'll tell you to read Dov Zeller's Book of Hats! We love distributing the titles of tiny Massachusetts publisher, Tiny Golem Press. But the American Library Association is also telling you to pick up the book; it made this year's recommended fiction reads on their annual Over the Rainbow list.
The biased and the book professionals aside, the everyday literary fiction book lovers at GoodReads.com have so many beautiful things to say about Book of Hats as well, and we've collected some of them below. My favorite is the first one that homes in on the dialogue ("spot on for old New York"), the characters, and the imagery.
I Loved This Book
“Things I love about this book: The dialogue - it’s colorful, and spot on for old New York - “The Roths of this world are a strange lot. They turn you upside down and shake you for whatever you’re worth. As far as the Roths of this world go, he’s not so bad. Some Roths shake you more than others. This one has at least a heart. On certain days of the week.” and - “Enough of nothing,” Doris said...“The world is made of nothing. If it were up to you, you’d paint the world with nothing-colored nothing. Don’t give me nothing.” The characters - they feel real, and I fell in love with them. I love Clem, a self-described “butch,” who is unapologetically a “ladies man.” And Doris, described this way: “She was on the thin side and shorted all the time but she made up for it with might and with hair.” The imagery - dreams and reality are very fluid, and the descriptions of nature and of people are gorgeous.”
—Sami Perkins, Good Reads, 5 stars
A Dream-Like Immersion!
“This is a dream-like immersion into the world of Ida Velikowsky who, as a transmasculine child growing up in the 1930s, is rejected by her mother for being different. Ida flees to New York City where she is befriended by people like herself. She finds work in a factory during the war and is on the cusp of falling in love when life deals a staggering blow. She retreats further into herself and the reader experiences the world as Ida experiences it: disconnected from the body, but not entirely from pleasure. She reemerges slowly and then all at once when she is forced to contend with an upstairs neighbor in crisis.”
—Cathy, Good Reads, 5 stars
“Book of Hats...is MARVELOUS! It’s bursting with richness...gorgeously written...heartbreaking...often hilarious. Kudos to Dov Zeller!!!! [A] beautiful book!”
—Elyse Walters, Good Reads, 5 stars
"Book of Hats, is an entrancing, funny, heartbreaking, frightening, beautifully written novel!...Book of Hats begins with...splendid surrealism. But as Ida grows, as perhaps in real life, the surrealism lessens for the reader to experience the full extent of Ida’s pain and feeling of being different. But, as with Life of Pi, the surrealism helps Ida’s heartbreaking story to be more palatable. This is a must read for anyone who has ever felt different, and especially for those who never have."
—Eric Houston, Good Reads, 5 stars