A couple of weeks ago I posted a review of The Story of Beautiful Girl. Of all of the books I have read this year, I still like it the best. I’ve been raving about it to all of my friends.
However, that doesn’t mean that I haven’t read anything else (or listened to anything else in my car – does that count?). I just hate the thought of trashing books, so I am not going to mention the ones I didn’t really care for, although I trudged through a couple of those while driving back and forth to the chiropractor’s office where I give about half of my massages. It’s just too easy to listen to fifteen minutes at a time and keep going, even when I don’t like what I’m ‘reading’.
Getting to the books I did like, one of my clients introduced me to a new romance writer – LaVyrle Spencer. I read her novel The Camden Summer in one evening, because it was a ‘page-turner’ and I couldn’t put it down. I don’t know if that is a great recommendation, or not, because I usually only get caught up in a novel like that if it’s what I call ‘candy,’ rather than great literature. The Camden Summer is a romance. I knew after the second chapter who the lucky couple would be, and I usually hate that all-too-obvious foreshadowing, but this is not a typical romance, so I didn’t mind it so much this time. There is way too much social commentary in this novel, which examines the seedy side of small town life, for it to follow the boilerplate path that so many romances follow. I liked the tale of rebellion against the status quo, by simply being yourself, and the weaving of the lives of the children into the story. That rebellion reminded me of one of my favorite novels as a child (whose title and author I have long since forgotten). The antagonists are not the lover, either, as in so many romances, but instead are the brother-in-law, who is painted as truly evil, and the sister of the protagonist.
In case you get the wrong idea, I don’t solely read fiction (although – true confessions – I do about 95% of the time, or maybe 98%). Sometimes (rarely?) I read science books (and other stuff). I am halfway through James Hanson‘s Storms of My Grandchildren, which is both about the politics of Global Warming and also a tiny bit about the science. It’s a pretty quick and easy read, but I am glad to be finding out just a little bit about where all of the dire predictions come from, and how the scientists have gone about estimating how much temperature rise will be caused by how much CO2 and methane and what will then happen to sea level rises, etc., and where the real questions still remain.
I am also reading a book that was recommended by Kristen Lamb on her hilarious blog about writing a couple of weeks ago: Story Engineering, by Larry Brooks. I am happy to report that, so far, my novel seems to me to have the elements he talks about, but he is so clear that I know it will make writing the next novel much easier – as in taking vastly less than seven years.
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- My Name is Riki, and I am a Book Addict (missriki.com)
- The best advice I’ve learned on story structure: Part 2 – Plot Point 1 (rebeccaberto.wordpress.com)
- Best Science Books 2011: Readings, Seattle Times, Book Reporter, Chicago Tribune [Confessions of a Science Librarian] (scienceblogs.com)
- Stuff on Sundays: On being a Fast Reader (bookdout.wordpress.com)