Sunday, April 17, 2016

Novel-Induced Awe ...

Last year, upon finishing Liz Gilbert's Big Magic, I wrote an appreciation, not a review.

I have no business writing reviews. Who does, really? What speaks to me won't necessarily speak to you, and while many of us might be able to agree on what constitutes "bad," who's to say that others might not deem something "good"?

And so, once again, this is an appreciation, not a review.

But this time, I have two books to note.

I read Jennifer Niven's All The Bright Places almost exactly a year ago, April 14, 2015.

I finished Kerry Kletter's The First Time She Drowned moments ago.

I was awed by them both.
And I wish the characters could have met each other. I am sure all of their lives would have been better for it.

But they exist in separate stories, conjured by the magic that is the writing of fiction, a feat which I cannot fathom anyone doing as it seems wholly impossible to me but I am so, so glad that others have the gift.

I spend much of my days consuming news – you can take the girl out of the newsroom but you can't take the newsroom out of the girl – and when I do crack a book, it's usually non-fiction.

I don't read a lot of fiction because the editor in me almost never stops editing. It borders on involuntarily.

But every so often, I read a book that draws me in so immediately that my editor self cedes the moment to the reader and lets her revel in the story and the words, though the writer in me pauses every so often to admire a phrase.

To have read two such books, similar and yet very different, has been a delight.

Does J.K. Rowling deserve the credit for ensuring that so many adults appreciate young-adult fiction? John Green does, too.

And now we can add Jennifer and Kerry to the list.

I thank them for their generosity and talent. And I thank Angelo for introducing me to them both.

Read. Revel. Keep tissues nearby.

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