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~ Kathy M.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Recent Reads:

I have been reading lots and lots lately.  That is not unusual.  But now I am reading with a different view on books.  I am observing the writing, when I can remember to...if I don't get too caught up in the story.  I am trying to figure out how the authors do what they do.  Some books rely on conversation to tell the story, others use heavy description to set the scene.  Some are told by the star of the show, others focus on what one person is doing and thinking at a time.  It is very interesting to use novels as textbooks!

Long Lost 
by Harlan Coben, 2009

This book is easy to read.  It goes fast, because you wonder what in the heck is going on now, while it is laying there on the coffee table. There is lots of action ... kidnappings, murder, terrorists, stem cell research, frozen embryonic embryos, work relationships, love relationships, bullies, plus several narratives on how to fight.  

Coben tells you what people look like, but he mainly uses the characters conversation to tell the story.  It is written in the first person, from Myron's point of view.  Sometimes the dialogue is so informal that the first word of each sentence is left off, and I had to keep going back and figuring out who said what.  

This book does make you wonder about what is really going on in America with terrorist sleeper cells and CIA interrogations.

Pigs in Heaven
by Barbara Kingsolver, 1993

This book is the sequel to The Bean Trees.  Turtle is a few years older now, and everybody is happily living in Arizona.  Taylor and Turtle go on vacation and end up landing on national news.  The news broadcast catches the eye of a sharp young Cherokee Nation lawyer who spots that Taylor is white and Turtle is Cherokee.  White people cannot adopt Native American children.  So Taylor flees with Turtle, and Alice, Taylor's mother, goes to the rescue.

I love reading Barbara Kingsolver books.  She squeezes more meaning into one sentence than anybody else, and it is always crystal clear in what she is saying.  I appreciate that very much, as a reader.  Barbara focuses on one person at a time in her story, though she not exclude everybody else either.  She will start the chapter with Taylor and then go though what Taylor is thinking and feeling.  Conversation is used throughout, but it is not exclusively relied upon.  Barbara uses a lot of humor in telling her story, and explains the complexities of relationships, being ethical and moral, and a tad bit of law is thrown in for good measure.  

I always learn a lot about something when I read her books.  You might want to read The Bean Trees before you read this one, for two reasons.  The Bean Trees will give you the background, and when it ends you will still want to be with Taylor, Turtle and Jax.

The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray
by Chris Wooding, 2001

This book is about scary things and bad people who abuse their power, but it is not really very scary or gory.  It is an interesting book that I found at a book sale a couple of months ago. 

The story is set in England, back when they still used horse carriages but also had telephones.  I couldn't pinpoint the exact year.  It focuses on this young man named Thaniel who is wych-hunter, along with his partner Cathaline.  Thaniel finds this girl with amnesia, Alaizabel Cray, and they try to help her.  By helping her, they save the whole entire world. 

It is well done, with a lot of action that keeps you reading.  I liked it. It brought up new topics and ideas that I had never heard of before.  Chris Wooding gives detailed descriptions of buildings and homes, which I always enjoy.  The conversations he presents are great too.  I will be on the lookout for more books by this author.

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BECKY said...

They all sound really interesting, Kathy, and good for you! You also made a great point that I'd not thought of...reading novels like text books...see how the writer does what they do, etc.! Great tip to share with us! Thanks!

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

Hi Becky, I got that from Stephen King's book on how to write.

No Copying!


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