LITERARY YIN & YANG by The Stereotypical Librarian


Yin and Yang are the opposite forces of nature that are also complementary, interconnected, and interdependent.  In books you will often find those forces illustrated by the use of twins.  The first twins I can remember reading about were the Bobbsey Twins, Nan and Bert were twelve years old and had dark hair while Flossie and Freddie were six, and blond.  Introducing readers to the simple opposites of big – little, girl – boy, light – dark, mature – mischievous, The Bobbsey Twins began my fascination with twins in literature.  My favorite book of all time is East of Eden by John Steinbeck which features Caleb and Aaron Trask a set of truly complicated twins.  Steinbeck reexamines the Cain and Able story from the bible using Cal and Aron to sort out what will happen if a son can never find favor with his father no matter what he does as long as the other son is always the favorite no matter what he does.  It is even left to doubt if both twins are actually the father’s biological son.  Complicated yin and yang this book has everything all in one great story.  You can find new ideas and things to think about in East of Eden for years to come.

What about the yin and yang of never being truly alone.  I know with smart phones we can say we have all experienced being constantly connected but not like this.  Chang and Eng a novel by Darin Strauss is a historical fiction based on the true story of the first Siamese twins.  It is a good read and if it leaves you wanting more then try The Girls by Lori Lansens.  Ruby and Rose each tell their story of a separate life lived as conjoined twins.  It will keep you guessing and turning those pages.

If you enjoy reading beautiful writing then please try Mischling by Affinity Konar.  Meet twelve year old twins, Pearl who is in charge of the sad, the good, the past and Stasha who cares for the funny, the future, the bad.  1944 their path crosses that of Josef Mengele at Auschwitz and there lies the tale.  You can hear the music in the words as you listen to this most disturbing song of a book.  You might think you know, but you have to read it to find out how it ends.

Noir anyone?  Place one mom and little girl alone on a Scottish island in a wreck of a house.  Add a coming storm.  Simmer on low heat a Dad who can’t get to the island in time.  So, which twin Kirstie or Lydia is alive?  The Ice Twins by S.K. Tremayne, read it.

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