“Uh, okay… Just a sec… Just, uh, wait… Huh? Right. One more minute…”
Although this is normally what we hear from our daughter, in this case it was me procrastinating. Specifically, I was reading the delicious book, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, and couldn’t quite put it down to get my daughter her dinner.
Only the very best books can do this to me. And even then, if there are delineated chapters I can usually find a breaking point. But this book has both the sort of writing that makes you want to see what happens next, and is written in the form of correspondence. Breaking the book into sections based on letters makes it nearly impossible for me to stop reading. Just one more short correspondence, I think. And then boom, I’ve read another ten pages and my daughter has returned, surprised that her macaroni and cheese from a box is taking this long (yes – sad to say that I do often make this for her).
Crafting a story that has this type of intense pull is not easy. Even a fantastic plot, if paired with less than deep characters and precise pacing, will allow my eyes to wander from the page. Then, like most readers, my attention is lost.
Some friends and I were discussing Fifty Shades of Grey yesterday (a fairly one sided conversation as only one of us, not me, had read it.) Still, though I have yet to find it in me to pick it up, I could at least engage with our discussion about the mechanics of the story. Specifically, the person who had read it said that the writing wasn’t even that good. And yet, she was drawn to keep reading and to finish the book, not just set it down.
In fact, I have already heard this about Fifty Shades. But while the writing might struggle, to have created characters compelling enough that the reader sticks with the story in spite of its flaws says a great deal, I think, about the author’s talent.
Don’t get me wrong… I still say the very best books are the ones that have it all. It matters not which genre each person prefers. Within every category are books that sparkle like moonlight on wavy water. Perhaps, if you are like me, you too will find such a book in The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Now, sorry to keep it short, but I have a few more letters to read.
I’m still waiting to hear about your favorite or planned trips. Leave a comment and let me know what journeys have inspired you, and I’ll enter you into a drawing where one lucky January commenter will win a copy of any one of Daniel Davidson's Travel Free Guides. Check back at the end of the month to see if you’re my winner. Please note –while I love and appreciate getting Facebook posts and Twitter replies, the comment must be made on my blog, using the blog form – this way all who see the blog post can engage in a shared conversation. Thanks.
(BTW - For those of you who don’t yet know of Daniel Davidson, he’s a travel writer with great advice on saving money while traveling. Check his website for more info: http://www.freetravelideas.com/)
NOTE: Thanks for all of the fun comments during the month of December. I am super happy to announce that is the winner of the $10 donation to the non-political charity of their choice is Catherine Castle. Congratulations Catherine! Please leave a comment and let me know to which charity I can donate in your name.
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