Here’s a story: I ordered Wendy Xu and Suzanne Walker’s Mooncakes online from my local library without realizing it was a graphic novel, and was incredibly surprised when it arrived and was covered in pictures. I’m glad that I did, though; Mooncakes is full of wonderful characters and absolutely adorable animals. It follows witch Nova Huang as she helps her grandmothers run Black Cat, a bookstore and cafe. After hearing a rumor from a friend that something strange is happening in the woods, Nova investigates and finds her old friend, Tam Lang. Tam is a werewolf, and they’ve found themself battling a demon that only they can defeat, except Nova and her grandmothers are definitely going to make sure they don’t go through it alone.
Because a large portion of the novel takes place in a bookstore, there are books that appear in the backgrounds of scenes. Here are seven I wish existed:
How to Be a Bat
I assume that this book provides instructions on how to turn into a bat, but why just a bat? Are there different procedures for turning into different animals? Does the book instruct in bat customs so that new bats can properly communicate with the other bats? Or maybe it’s a self-help book where being a bat is a metaphor for being… something. Perhaps consuming insects can translate to consuming the worries of your friends and family.
Handbook of Mystical New England Waterfowl
What constitutes as a mystical waterfowl? Perhaps I would know, if I had access to this book. Currently, I am imagining ducks with laser eyes, which I suppose isn’t especially creative because this book could contain entirely new species. Or perhaps ducks with hands so they can steal food more efficiently. They’ll never be locked out of a kitchen again.
Ah, yes, magic for chores, which isn’t especially glamorous but is probably fairly useful. Unless by kitchen, the book means cooking, in which case the possibilities are endless. Does magic allow ingredients to blend in new ways? Can it prevent food from burning when I inevitably leave something in the oven for too long? I have to imagine such a thing takes practice, however, so I, at least, would probably run the risk of accidentally throwing food at the walls when I launch it across the room in an overenthusiastic manner and completely destroying everything before the cooking could ever begin.
Kitchen magic, I can picture, but pet spells? Is there an invisible hand massage, or a magical laser pointer for your cat? Perhaps the spells help you communicate with animals, so that you can listen to your pets complain about your furniture choices. Still, I would love to hear what my pets have to say. Imagine having a conversation with a fish, where you can chat about the benefits of adding more decorations to your fish tank, which your fish thinks should really be twice as large. He’s seen larger on television, so why can’t you have a whole wall dedicated to him?
Fifty Ducks of Grey
There’s a part of me that thinks I must have gotten the title of this book wrong, but I’m pretty sure Fifty Ducks of Grey is a book you can purchase at Black Cat. While I really hope that it’s just a book about fifty ducks that are from the duck county of Grey, I, unfortunately, cannot keep the alternative out of my head. (Fifty Shades of Grey with ducks?) Perhaps these are the mystical waterfowl from before.
Science and Magic: Are They Really So Different
This is a book I would probably want to read. I’ve always thought of scientific phenomena appear to be a sort of “real world” magic, with its own laws and powers. I suppose this is why science fiction and fantasy are always stuffed together as a category, and perhaps we have this book to thank for that.