Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Peace Like a River

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You know you're reading a good book when you grab a pencil to start underlining. This one is stunning. I am deeply moved by the word choice and the deliberate craft Leif Enger poured into Peace Like a River. I'm just 50 pages in and I'm enamored.

Enger has a gift. He handles word choice and the manipulation of sentences as if they are baby chicks cradled in his hands, as if by one faulty move they could fall and be rendered immobile, dead even. In Peace Like a River, he cared for each word and sentence he structured, this is obvious and quite frankly, it's inspirational. It drives me. It motivates me and it sends me to the computer chair in a hurry to let my own fingers bounce upon the keyboard, releasing my thoughts and imagination in my own attempt at the craft.

What kinds of things do I find myself underlining as I read a fiction book like this? My pencil scratches under words or sentences strewn together that light me up, that literally tick something in my brain alerting me that I've just read something entirely original and pure in form. If after I read something like this I can see it, visualize it as if the characters or scene were before me, raw and real, I know I've come across a gifted writer--a delicious reward for reading.

I'll provide you with a some examples from Peace Like A River:

"Once torched by truth, Swede wrote years later, a little thing like faith is easy."

"It only felt powerful, like truth unhusked."

"Imagine the voice of a much picked-on yet somehow hopeful child."

"I remember it as October days are always remembered, cloudless, maple-flavored, the air gold and so clean it quivers."

Reading is a delight for me. I remember my mom used to stay up late into the night so she could reclaim her time to read. I find I neglect cleaning so I can do it. It's just that important to me. Before you start having scary visions of my trash toppling with coffee grinds and banana peels, I'll have you know I'm actually a decent housekeeper. I somehow just fit it all in and am willing to let the floor be free of the vacuum for a couple of days if it means I can chew on one more chapter of a riveting book.

Happy Reading Moments to You!

1 comment:

  1. It's a wonderful book; we read it in our book group years ago, and I fell in love with it at once.

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