Monday, December 29, 2008
Read any good books lately?
So it’s the end of the year and I’m taking stock of the past 12 months. Thinking about New Year’s resolutions and definitely procrastinating about those closets I didn’t clean last year. In the midst of all this preparation for January 1st I’ve been thinking over the books I’ve read the past year. And I was wondering...
1) What's the best book you've read in the past 12 months?
3) How has it affected your thinking (or your writing)?
This can be fiction or non-fiction.
I asked a group of friends these questions last year about this time. It was fascinating to hear their answers. I’m curious to hear your answers, too, as I’m always looking for new authors to try!
I was very surprised to find that the book I’d started the year with, I’m ending the year with as well. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. I read it last year over the Christmas break on the recommendations of both a friend and a family member. It was quite wonderful. Gothic in tone, it reminded me of my favorite book growing up—Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca. This year, I don’t believe I’ve read anything that’s topped it. This has made my "top ten best of all time."
Ms. Setterfield really knows her way around sentence structure. The way she wove the words together painted such incredible pictures in my mind. It was a pleasure. I felt I was “bathing” in the language. Sometimes, I get somewhat impatient with that, but not here.
I think more than anything, I didn't analyze the writing, I just enjoyed it. It was the first time in a great while that's happened for me.
As to how it's effected my writing...Certainly it has encouraged me to stretch myself more in describing things. In writing suspense I tended to get very sparse in the interest of tension. Looking back at what I learned from Setterfield, I rediscovered the beauty you can have in meaty language, even in the suspenseful, tension-filled scenes. The importance of wrapping a few more words around the action and painting more visceral pictures.
How about ya'll? What have been your great reads this year?
A commenter will be chosen randomly to receive a copy of my debut January release, Better Than Bulletproof. I’ll post the winner tomorrow morning along with our grand Free Rice total. (See "Vegging on the Internet?..." December 10th post) If you've been keeping track- include your Free Rice number, too. (ex. FR 3340)
Hmm, reading is so much more fun than cleaning out closets!
Merry New Year!
Kay Thomas (FR 3340)
Better Than Bulletproof ~ January 13, 2009