My book pile from the library surprisingly leaned more towards non-fiction over the past month inspiring me with insightful writing suggestions, an amazing adventure, and a remarkable friendship.
I began with Pat Schneider’s Writing Alone and with Others which my VerbTribe members recommended. Pat’s encouragement and wise counsel roll off the page like a quiet conversation over a cuppa tea with a dear friend. She writes, “It is my deep conviction that true discipline is a matter of love, rather than duty. If you are in love, you make time and space for the beloved. That preparation is part of the joy. There is nothing of duty about it. I believe that people who truly want to write are in love with writing, in love with the artist inside, in love with creating. That love is the root source of true discipline.”
Skip to a fiction title: I discovered Lady Macbeth by Susan Fraser King while searching the library shelf for a Stephen King novel for my dear hubby. Some of the best books I’ve encountered often call to me from the shelf like a magnet attracting filings. This is not Shakespeare’s Lady by any means, this masterful work of historical fiction draws you into the world of eleventh century Scotland where we meet Rue who learned to wield a weapon, ride a horse, and become queen of her people, “I am granddaughter to a king and daughter to a prince, a wife twice over, a queen as well. I have fought with sword and bow, and struggled fierce to bear my babes into this world. I have loved deeply and hated deeply, too….”
Wild by Cheryl Strayed gripped me from page one and didn’t let go. This young woman’s candid story about her journey ‘from lost to found on the Pacific Crest Trail’ left me shaking my head at her unpreparedness, crying softly with her, and laughing hysterically at her adventures and misadventures while applauding the young woman who emerged from the trail eleven hundred miles later.
An Invisible Thread by Laura Schroff was a quick read and reminded me of the movement to ‘pay it forward’ and the movie Blind Side. Laura hardly acknowledged the young boy begging for spare change on a busy New York City street. But something made her stop and go back and offer to buy him lunch at McDonalds. He asked if he could have a cheeseburger. His name was Maurice and he changed Laura’s life. This is a moving story about overcoming seemingly insurmountable obstacles of poverty, crime, and neglect. Laura and Maurice are connected by an invisible thread—”An invisible thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle. But it will never break.” ~Old Chinese Proverb
I’m not a huge Anne Rice fan but The Wolf Gift looked intriguing and it was. It’s a supernatural Gothic tale with gorgeous descriptions of Northern California, the weather, a mysterious mansion, and one lost soul who receives the ‘wolf gift’. But is it evil or can he use it for good? The critics were harsh in their reviews but I enjoyed Rice’s storytelling and hope she’ll continue it as a series.
I thought I had read all of Tracy Chevalier’s books which are wonderful but somehow I missed this gem—Falling Angels. She chose to write extremely short first person accounts for each of the dozen main characters which I find original and highly engaging. The setting is 1901 in a London cemetery two little girls are visiting their family plots and become fast friends along with the grave diggers cheeky young son.
Reading excellent fiction and non-fiction inspires me as a writer—to dig deeper and excavate the ideal hidden word, to describe the indescribable, to make possible the impossible. I commend writers and authors for their love of the craft—for sitting down and putting one word after another. Their art allows me as a reader to immerse myself in their vision by turning page after page of a dream actualized. I am an immensely grateful reader.