Here is a list of people who have shaped what I think a good book should be like…
A good book will give you wings, fins, sails, it will make your mind soar and let you love, hate and adore the people you encounter…it will make you laugh and cry and give you hours of happiness….fill your head which will give shape to all the descriptions, draw the pictures, make the movie…bring them to life( I pitty the younger generations, who do not have the same relationship with books…all they know is what they show them).
First off, there is House of Spirits by Isabelle Allende, she made me fall in love with South American writers(don’t expect too much)…gripping story from page one, her descriptive prose brought each and every one of the characters to life, what a let down the movie was, I can not explain, maybe the script writer didn’t get it??? What a flop! Who knows what happened…probably the same thing that happened to Allende herself, after The Daughter of Fortune, I never bothered to give her another try…
That got me started on Gabriel Maria Marques, I really struggled with One Hundred years of Solitude, but Love in the time of Cholera, got me hooked. Spellbound, like with the distant relatives of the characters of the House of Spirits. But, the magic did not work for any of his other works either. Thank God, no one tried to make a movie of that one or if they did, it passed without me noticing.
I loved Frank Kafkas‘ Metamorphosis which I read as a teenager and only remembered when I watched The Fly with Jeff Goldblum sometime in the 80 ies…stupid movie, but Kafkas story left an impression(as I am almost certain, it left on the script writer).
Then in my twenties, I stumbled across Wally Lamb with an unforgettable She’s come undone. The book, I have owned several times and I waited a long time to hold another book of his in my hands. Well worth it, both of them, I know this much is true and The hour I first believed and his work with the york women’s correctional writing class. For me an amazing writer and person.
From there, I must put Steven King somewhere. Maybe to many his books are to be frowned upon, but I love that ultimate evil against the little good. I have read every single one of his books and I will not be ashamed, not one of his stories is like any of the others except in the good and evil department. Trying to get my hands on his latest book soon. He has the wildest imagination of them all, but Steven King is good to “switch off” to.
An equally mesmerizing novel was The Swarm by Frank Schätzing, a great combination of research, fact, fiction and science fiction. A finale, that was maybe too science fiction for some, but nonetheless, a wonderful 800+ page of not being able to accomplish anything but keep my nose in the book read(no chance for a movie, thank god, too many things going on to pack into even 2 hrs+)!
Lionel Shriver with We need to talk about Kevin, hat off to her for tackling a psychological issue of an old question: Are we born Evil or is someone raised to be/do Evil? A mother’s view of a child turned “Columbine High School”. Here, you either sympathise with the mother or you blame the mother and if you haven’t read the book, do not bother to try to “get”the movie, You won’t. Movie despite, lacking in detail was surprisingly good.
There also Stig Larson and his Trilogie, which sits inside my head and pops up every time I hear the word Sweden…The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was read in my old book club and I will never forget the scolding I got from my friend, when I pulled out the sheets of research I had done on some of the Chapter quotes. That was the first time, I ever checked out things I read. It will be the one thing that forever opened my eyes to the fact, that things “prettily described”(the country Sweden is like THE place in the world where women are most equal…)are not just words, but sometimes the opposite as facts. The YOU SHOULD NOT BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU READ ON THE NET does not really stick when you find a report issued by Amnesty International in regard to the situation of women in the country, along side a lot of other credible sources…) Be that as it may, his trilogy was an excellent, fresh breath into an old crime/thriller genre…
While I am at it, here is what I think of Elizabeth Gilbert and her Eat Prey Love and Commitments …I think she is full of it…I am being nice. She came up with what she thinks that females want to read, and put in everything but her bloody kitchen sink. Sooo full of cliches, it made me sick!!! And to think on top of the terrible book, they also made a matching awful movie! What a disappointment!!! julia Roberts, what were you thinking???? All these white affluent(by Indian standards) people going to India to find themselves!!!!! Oh, please! and if Indians or Asians or Africans want to find themselves they come and find an abundance of choices, at least in the U.S.????What is up with that???
And while we are in India, here is another great mind, Aravind Adiga and the White Tiger, maybe Gilbert aught to read this before she starts her next OMMMMM. A superb story with insight into Indian life. No British Empire/Colony saga, but a view from pretty much the bottom up with life explained through an allegory in the chicken coop chapter.
Last, there are John Irving and Pat Conroy, for the former, The World according to Garp was my first encounter and I have read every one of his books tlll the Fourth Hand. A very talented story teller!! For the latter The Prince of Tides and Beach Music are books, I will never abandon from my shelves, I know at some point in the future, I will read them again.
I am sure I have forgotten some, just like I can not pull the vocabulary out of my brain in French when I most NEED it, but remember it a few minutes later(just after I feel I have made a a fool of myself), but that will have to be some other time!
I have one favor to ask, please leave me a comment with an author you love and why…I am always looking for books to escape with…..