Recently I was asked by a friend to list my 15 favourite books – ones that stuck with me. I found it harder than I thought. My husband was no help, saying “Tell them Adhesives that work by V Elcro”.
Once I had hit him with a cushion, I stopped to think, what does make a book stick with me? For me, it is one of two things, passion or the ability to make me stop and rethink. If a book has both, it goes on my top 15 list.
One of my favourite authors I am rereading at the moment is Tamora Pierce. Her Tortall series of books is supposedly for children and although my daughter loves her too, I find myself reading the ink of the page (or the pixels off the screen seeing I read ebooks). She makes me laugh, cry and sit back with shock. She examines people’s motivations without ever getting bogged down. Like a Chinese painting, she portrays incredible scenes with a few slight strokes.
It is the simplicity I like, allowing us to look through the eyes of her characters without judging or noticebly guiding the reader. When writing, I often find myself dropping into preaching mode when trying to make a point. I immediately delete that passage, only to find myself doing it again as soon as I relax. Caring passionately about something is important, but preaching about it is like trying to shoe a fish, frustrates both you and the fish and it’s ultimately pointless.
Actions speak louder than words. Tamora’s characters gently show the consequences of evil actions, mine tend to just rip the evil guy’s head off. Still it takes all sorts. Which way do you prefer?