Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Six Qualities that Entice Me to Read More

By this point you probably know that I’m a writer. But did you know I’m also an avid reader? I try to keep track of everything I read on Goodreads but each month I miss a few.

I’m not afraid to start a book and 10, 20, even 50 pages later, put it down.
I thought I’d share with you today the qualities I find in the books that keep me reading all the way until the end.

{Warning…I’m about to do a ton of name dropping—or make that title dropping in this post.}
Fascinating Characters
Immediately Mudbound and The Poisonwood Bible come to mind. Such expert delineation of multiple voices in these works.
I also got quickly attached to the characters in Belong to Me. Introduce me to a curious, engaging, or witty character, likeable or maybe not so likeable, to start and I’m hooked.

Plot That’s Going Somewhere
Stories like Defending Jacob and Sister had me turning pages faster than my fingers could move. A strong plot has an exceptional pull that’s nearly impossible to resist.

Rich Concept
Uh…The Giver, anyone? I have no idea what took me so long to read this wonder of a book, but the moment I finished the last page I felt like I stumbled upon a majestic treasure. I felt thrilled the rest of the world had the opportunity to be in on it and in a strange way sad. The Gollum in me wanted to stroke the book and say, “Mine, all mine.”
I also enjoyed The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry. The conceit for this book was right up my alley. A sheer delight of a book (liked it so much I recommended it as my choice for one of my book clubs).
Make Me Feel
Give me at least one character I can empathize with, someone I want to root for and I’m all yours. Front cover to the last words of the acknowledgements.

I adored Swede in Peace Like a River and felt a strong sense of empathy for Victoria in The Language of Flowers. The authors of these books succeeded and then some in making their stories come alive.

Emotional Depth
Go deep or go home. I’m not much of a fluff reader. I just don’t have the patience for it. When I’m reading a book, I also want to experience it. I crave for it to instigate reflection. Marley & Me and The Art of Racing the Rain tugged and tugged hard. Not just because the main characters were hooked to leashes throughout the pages, but because these stories tapped into the great feelings of being a pet owner, a mom, and a human being.

Seamless Flow + Word Choice
Jamming two in one. I know, guilty as charged. But there’s something to be said for a novel when you forget you’re reading—when you’re so swept up in the story world you’ve metaphorically crawled inside the book to nest for as long as it takes to finish it. An almost musical, carefully worded flow can accomplish this. Word choice matters. This is why The Book Thief won my heart and Night by Elie Wiesel. And I still remember powerful lines from Water for Elephants.
A magnificent novel finds a way to take each of the above and knead it into a miraculous ball of dough that balloons into the unforgettable.

*Fun announcement ~ Enter my Goodreads Giveaway for THEDELICATE NATURE OF LOVE for a chance to win a signed copy. Enter by March 1st!

4 comments:

  1. Wendy: When I worked in a library a few years ago, I was drawn to Night by Elie Wiesel. It took me a while to read it. I had to read and stop, read and stop, read and stop. The descriptions were vivid and made me feel more compassion for those who were victimized by the experiences he endured. I still remember some of the scenes from it. It saddened me to read his words where those events caused him to lose his faith. Blessings to you and yours.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Blessings to you as well. Such a powerful book & reminder that how we treat people matters more than we might think.

      Delete
  2. Good reasons all; no matter how many books are read, they are still so many good books out there that never become popular. My problem is I've read so much, the plots tend to become co-mingled in my head after a while.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hear you. It does all get jumbled sometimes. And I absolutely agree--there are so many great writers out there that will never have their day in the sun...but I truly hope they keep at it because I've learned that I change so much in the process of creating.

      Delete

A Book Is Born—THE AFTER GLIMPSE

At book clubs I’m often asked where my ideas come from. The concept for THE AFTER GLIMPSE (available now) was first sparked in an ice c...