Now that the award season is over, and the hoopla has died down, I wanted to post on a topic I’m sure most writers adore: books.
In my mind, I tend to lump fiction into one of four categories:
- Yuck, won’t spend another minute on it.
- Ehh, good enough to finish, but I won’t be organizing a parade in its honor.
- Great read by a wonderful storyteller—cannot wait to dive in!
- Amazing book with brilliant writing, leaving me awestruck by the author’s talent and reluctant to turn the last page.
Allow me to share some of my favorites from the last two categories.
As for great reads whose anticipated debut makes me hop around like a caffeinated Chihuahua, one of my favorites is Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone series. Her well-written books create such a lovable protagonist, you feel as though you are sleuthing right along with her.
The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith is another pleasure producer. Though I am not one to use the word delightful, I can think of no better adjective to describe this series. The style is breezy, light, and heartfelt. Believe it or not, I’m actually a little glass half-full by the time I reach that back cover!
And of course, to return to my dark side, anything by Stephen King. Though I am no longer a huge fan of horror, I cannot bypass this man’s books. Barely two lines fly by before I am sucked into a world with characters so rich and real, I expect them to knock on my door (though I hope they don’t—that would be creepy.) He is a brilliant storyteller.
Now what about my last category? Although I am drawn to mystery and intrigue, every so often, I poke my nose into something more literary. I need to maintain a modicum of respect, after all. Among this group, I have discovered books that made me…well…speechless. Not to mention humbled by great talent. Talent that reduced me to a kindergartener weaving a tale of a farting monkey by comparison.
There are too many gems to mention, but let me highlight a few:
- A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry. If I could write even one pinch as well as this author, I would brighten the world with my happiness.
- Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
- I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb
- Beach Music by Pat Conroy
- Midwives by Chris Bohjalian. Not only was it beautifully written, I felt a chill when I finished. I won’t say more. You just have to read it.
Now, you may look at my list, shrug, and say, “Well, that’s not so special.” Fortunately, for writers and readers alike, taste in books is not one-size-fits-all. But as I am always looking for stories that tickle my pickle, I would love to know what reads are on your list. What books were too entertaining to close or so well-written you turned a shade of envious green?
Please share your favorites with me. I’d love to experience them!
Cartoon images: Microsoft Clip Art