I made my reading goal a realistic fifty-two books for 2018 as I barely made it through sixty last year. I’m picky about my fiction. I want to invest in well-developed characters and a plot that has purpose and leads rather than pushes me forward. There must be time for side stories and detours that enhance our protagonist’s motives and as for place or period—I must be transported.
Oh, and an unexpected twist with a thwack of a reveal simply makes me swoon with envy at an author’s wand wielding. I am hoovered in by an alternating point of view with one main character from the past and one main character in the present. If the plot builds and leads the reader to an unseen connection between these two characters well just call me smitten.
In a recent writing workshop our instructor gave us a prompt and she instructed us to write from the periphery which invited us as writers to include more details and linger over descriptions of color and texture and scents that we may not have included writing head-on. Life is in the details. I thoroughly enjoyed the exercise.
To write well I read well. And I take my homework seriously! I continue to be grateful to the authors who write and rewrite and persevere in the world of publishing and the teams of people who make the book in my hands a reality. Thank you.
Maggie O’Farrell chose to write The Hand That First Held Mine in third person, present tense, which worked but I felt it was an oddly interesting writing choice. My take is that it’s not an easy POV to sustain and it takes me as a reader out of the story—a narrator telling the story as it happens vs. as it happened. I enjoyed reading Marc’s thoughts over at Ditchwalk.
Do you have a preference as a reader? As a writer?
For 2018 my top pick so far for fiction is Georgia Hunter’s We Were the Lucky Ones. This is her first novel—whaaat? Brava. The characters in her book are her ancestors and their unimaginable journey through WWII as Polish Jews. In the spirit of The Nightingale, The Lilac Girls, All the Light We Cannot See, The Alice Network, and Everyone Brave is Forgiven, this holocaust story is absolutely remarkable. The Kurc family flies fully formed off the pages into your life—their story is a vise around your heart which grips you page after page with impossible odds and inexplicable losses. Your only release is to will them to find each other again.
I read about plans for The Gentleman in Moscow to become a 6-8 hour miniseries that I can’t wait to see!
Most creative tip of the hat goes to The Philosopher’s Flight by Tom Miller. Kick ass female characters; gender discrimination against men; early US history (kinda); and people who are able to FLY with sigilry. Oh, yeah!
Read ON…and soar!