Friday, March 09, 2007

The Good Reader

“'Tis the good reader that makes the good book; a good head cannot read amiss: in every book he finds passages which seem confidences or asides hidden from all else and unmistakably meant for his ear.”

-- Ralph Waldo Emerson

As an author, I'm so thankful for the existence of "the good reader," and as a reader, I'm grateful for those times when a book snatches me up in its grasp and carries me away. I'm especially appreciative of those rare moments when something an author has written resonates right to my center.

And I'm terribly sorry for those who have forgotten the quiet joy of reading and the respite that it offers from the noisy and demanding world. Too many are so caught up in spoon-fed, electronic entertainments or in fracturing their focus between text messages, e-mails, the Web, and other forms of virtual enslavement. They've forgotten what it is to fix their attention on the pages of a book and allow their imaginations to get so caught up in the thoughts and dreams of characters that meals go uneaten and e-mails go unchecked (oh, the horror!)

So what's the title of the last book that caught you up in its vortex -- the one you would use to show the world's non-readers exactly what they're missing? I'll start off by mentioning The Thirteenth Tale, by Diane Setterfield. It's a fine, old-fashioned Gothic populated by lonely moors and swirling mists and spooky/shocking family secrets. Wonderful story.


Sierra Donovan said...

Colleen, I was horrified about 6 months ago when I went out for coffee with some friends from my church, and one of them said she'd NEVER read a book except for the ones she'd been assigned to read in school. My jaw still gaps open every time I think of it. Then I want to scream.

As to favorite books -- wow, can I only pick one? I'll say COLD TEA ON A HOT DAY by Curtiss Ann Matlock. Warm, cozy, gentle storytelling at its very best.


meardaba said...

I was just sucked into The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart. Older book, written in the 70s I think, based on the Arthurian legend. This is the first in a series and it was all about Merlin. It was fantastic. I couldn't put it down, and I absolutely loathe stories about Arthur.

L. Faye Hughes said...

I *loved* Mary Stewart's books. I probably read every book of hers in the public library when I was growing up. lol.

As for current books that make me lose track of time, hmm... That would be a long list. lol. There are some authors I can't read unless I have the time to devote to the entire book. Tomorrow night, if I'm really good and get some pages finished, I'm treating myself to JoAnn Ross's latest, NO SAFE PLACE. It looks yummy.


Terry Z McDermid said...

Our local writers' group recently attended a Women's Fair and handed out information about our books, our group, and our upcoming conference. Welost count of the number of people who said, "oh, I never read!" And they said it as if it were something to be proud of!

The last book that caught me up? Like others have said, lots to include but the most recent one was the new J.D. Robb, Innocent in Death. I always drop everything when my name comes up in the library queue for hers.

Anna said...

Not the last one that caught me up in it's vortex, but one that did AND I'd use to show others what they're missing?

The Hyperion series by Dan Simmons. Great world building, wonderful story telling, great sci-fi.


The Kushiel series by Jacqueline Carey. Wow. Again great world building, wonderful sensuality, etc.

However, the last one that caught me in it's vortex is Lora Leigh's Tempting the Beast. Yummy.

Colleen Thompson said...

I loved the Mary Stewart books as well!

And I've heard great things about the Kushiel series, plus I'm looking forward to Innocent in Death, too.