Here are some of my favorite books I’ve read recently:
A wonderful debut from a first-time author. Makes your wonder which side you’d be on. The right one, I hope.
From the very first, I kept thinking, “this author is brilliant!” His prose was poetic, the story compelling, the characters memorable.
Elizabeth Strout is a good example of a writer who shows and doesn’t tell. I learned a lot about writing sparsely but also getting a very compassionate view of a character. A preacher man with two little girls loses his wife; how does he keep going? There was a scene or two I wish she hadn’t wrote, but I loved this book.
Fabulous, fabulous, wow. Amy Tan really does it here with her mother/daughter theme. I liked this much more than The Joy Luck Club. Again, this is a writer who does such a wonderful job of showing and making you feel emotion.
A classic for a reason. I’d never read it before, but once I started I could not put it down. Love story superb. Heroine devine. I saw a movie version in college. I just wish I could find the right version. It was far better than any rendition I’ve seen since. I folded pages, I wrote passages down, I underlined. A great work.
Loved this Hitchcock movie as a teenager and this book does not disappoint. DuMaurier uses flashback in superb fashion.
Can’t leave this one out since it’s our new BOOK CLUB book. This is the only book in this post I have not read, but I’m recommending it anyway since it’s 1) a classic 2) I want you to read and discuss with me, and 3) my sister Andrea chose it. She wouldn’t lead you astray, would she?
I have read all of Jodi P.’s books (and there’s a lot – maybe 15+) but this one remains my favorite. Picoult always does such outstanding research. This one on the Amish. Loved it. Page turner and as always for Picoult, a surprise ending.
Surprised to see this on the list? Yeah, well.
Here’s my Stephen King history: 12 years old and The Shining is on T.V. I beg Peter to let me watch it. I had only seen the previews but it looked deliciously scary. (My dad actually watched it with us!) Peter said no, he didn’t want to see it and I threw a tantrum of sorts by stomping my feet, yelling, and slamming the bathroom door. Yes, yes, it’s true. He relented. Peter, Andrea, and I watched it frozen horror until the very end. And at least for Andrea and I, had nightmares about it for the next 15 years.
Fast foward to the teenage years and spending the summer in Provo Utah. Sleeping in the basement, looking for a book to read, and finding Carrie. This was King’s 1st big hit. I only read about halfway when I had to close the book and made a very stern vow with myself that I would NEVER, EVER read a Stephen King book again. Man, I hated it. I think I watched some parts of the movie with cousin Clin and it gave the same shivery wicked feeling. And Peter once told me King turned up heavy metal music while writing, for evil inspiration. Okay, nail in the coffin! This was one bad dude.
Later, I did become a fan of the movie, “Stand By Me” and “The Green Mile” both by King.
Fast forward into my 30’s where I become very interested in writing. I subscribe to Writer’s Digest, an excellent writer’s resource. Hmmm…Stephen King sure is quoted a lot. And man, he has some really really good things to say. Insightful stuff. Useful stuff. This surprised me. Because at first, second, third glance, we have absolutely nothing in common. And our writing? Ha! I can’t touch his work with a ten foot pole and I have sneaking suspicion that my stuff isn’t really up his ally either. This book is his “Memoir of the Craft.” It’s so good. I marked the whole book up. I took notes, I underlined. I still have a pen in the middle b/c I don’t want to forget. I want to type up notes! He is someone I grew to really like. If I met him (he lives in Maine!) I would be honored. He even dedicates the book to Amy Tan. What? Yeah, they are in a band together with Dave Barry, Mitch Albom, and Barbara Kingsolver. Truth, you see, really is stranger than fiction.
This man was born with a gift. From a very young age, it was very obvious he had imagination and knew how to use it. He sent away story after story, even as a teenager. King writes, “Writing is refined thinking…At it’s most basic we are only discussing a learned skill, but do we not agree that sometimes the most basic skills can create things far beyond our expectations? We are talking about tools and carpentry, about words and style…but as we move along, you’d do well to remember that we are also talking about magic.”
Want a great book on writing? This is it. But don’t take my word for it. It became a national bestseller and has praise a mile long. I’m adding my name to that list. Happy reading!