Booking Through Thursday asks this week:
Since “Inspiration” is (or should) the theme this week … what is your reading inspired by?
I’m inspired to read books that fit my current interests. If a book claims to include magical realism, for example, I’ll usually check it out. I became truly interested in the genre when I began traveling to Mexico once a year and exploring Latin American and Latino authors. I want to learn more about the saints held dear, the traditions, the culture.
Another inspiration is reading books that expand a new interest. When I read a fictional account of life under the Taliban (The Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns), I was inspired to read a nonfictional account – Three Cups of Tea.
Reading reviews also motivates me. I learn whose opinions to trust, and I look for clues within each review – keywords, if you will, that make me think: This book’s for you.
Between my boss’s retirement on Wednesday and going out of town for the first part of the holidays to help my parents with Thanksgiving – and playing with photos on my other blog – I didn’t read too much last week. I barely began reading The Heretic’s Daughter last weekend before deciding to save it for a time with fewer interruptions.
Instead, I’ve read about half of Haven Kimmel’s Something Rising (Light and Swift). The same day that Wendy posted a review of The Robber Bride by one of my favorite authors, Margaret Atwood, I went in search of it at the used bookstore I frequent during lunch. I scored – for $23 I picked up The Robber Bride and The Blind Assassin, along with Kimmel’s book and Zadie Smith’s On Beauty.
Last summer I listened to the audiobook of Kimmel’s memoir, A Girl Named Zippy, and loved it. I decided to read Something Rising, figuring it wouldn’t be as demanding of my undivided attention. So far, the book is a pleasant enough coming-of-age story, and if you like to shoot pool, you’ll love it. It’s not heavy on plot, but Kimmel is a lovely writer. Although Cassie lacks the personality of Zippy so far, I understand the book takes off in the second half, and I’ll be along for the ride.
Speaking of audiobooks, I finished listening to Jane Green’s The Beach House last week – a guilty pleasure indeed, because it’s truly chick-lit beach reading. But I enjoyed it and its multitude of characters in audio format, regardless of how shallow and contrived they (and their situations) were. The book reminds me of the Low Country writers – what I call the three-name southern writers: Dorothea Benton Frank, Mary Alice Monroe, Anne Rivers Siddon – in nearly every respect. If you enjoy any of them, you’ll probably like the Nantucket setting for the same themes – preserving the family home against rising coastal property values and predator developers, marital discord, mothers and daughters, fathers and sons. It’s all there, even a hint at the end of Monroe’s environmental overtones.
I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday!
Who are your top three favorite authors, and what is your favorite book by each writer? I’ve already more than covered this topic in my author groupie post. Your turn.