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Some of my stories are published in:
A Cup of Comfort Devotional for Mothers and Daughters (Adams Media, 2009)
Chicken Soup: What I Learned from the Dog (2009)
Love is a Flame (Bethany House, 2010)
Extraordinary answers to Prayer (Guideposts, 2010)
Love is a Verb (Bethany House, 2011)
Big Dreams from Small Spaces (Group Publishing, 2012)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

What's Your Perfect Book?

I just bought a tall bookcase for my office. It was nearly empty a couple of months ago. Now the shelves are nearly filled with novels I've read recently.
Since I'm taking writing classes, reading books on writing craft, attending writers' groups, critiquing and being critiqued, and practicing -always practicing -to perfect my writing, the next most logical step is to immerse myself in well-written novels.
Want to know what I've discovered?
There are no perfect books. (Except the Bible)
Oh, there are excellent books. Some are crafted so well that I'll stop to read a sentence several times just to savor the artistry of a well-heeled phrase.
Some books have an incredibly well-thought-out plot. The scenes move the story along, keeping me engaged for hours as the author weaves characters and situations.
Some novels have such a powerful or compelling character that I have to read the book over and over.
But, there's always something that doesn' quite do it:
Maybe the romance between two characters just doesn't come to life.
Or the situation isn't plausible.
Or the author could have developed a theme to a greater depth.
The author is so afraid of telling that there's almost none. I'd like SOME narrative, please.
Or the character doesn't move me because he/she seems unfinished.
Or the character's motivation seems silly or unrealistic.
Or the technical aspect of the writer's craft is so obvious that it pulls me out of the story.
Or - and this is a biggy for me- I feel cheated because the beginning convinced me that the rest of the book would deliver. And it didn't.

Some really great books that I believe are close to perfection:
Music and Silence by Rose Tremain
Jack Maggs by Peter Caret
Peace Like a River by Leif Enger
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

What's on your list of a perfect book and why?
I'd love to know.

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