I guess titles are important. As a writer, I am really happy when I come up with a title that speaks to the story; sometimes I have the title before I even know where the story might be going, but that’s rare.
Sometimes the titles are the only good thing about the book.
Sometimes they pique your interest and you get lucky – the books live up to the promise in the title.
The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly is a great title and it’s an even better book.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows didn’t quite live up to its mouthful of a title.
Billy Dead by Lisa Reardon hints at the trouble ahead.
The most surprising plot twist or ending
I don’t think it’s actually fair to talk about this. I certainly don’t want to give anything away! All I will say is read Fingersmith by Sarah Waters. It has plot twists galore and every single one of them is jawdroppingly fantastic! That book is SO much fun to read.
In the same vein, The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield, has a few twists and is definitely worth the read. And the ending of One Day by David Nicholls amps up the story in a really remarkable way. Loved it.
Of course, if you’re looking for twists – you can’t go wrong with Thomas H. Cook. I have yet to finish a novel by this master of mystery/suspense and not been totally surprised. He’s fantastic.
A book that changed your opinion about something
I don’t read that much non-fiction except for books that relate to teaching, reading and writing. I am always interested in ways that I can be more effective and motivational in the classroom. I am privileged to teach writing and I am always looking for mentors. I am a huge fan of Penny Kittle’s book Write Beside Them, a book that reinforced my notion that you can teach writing and make it fun and relevant. Writing is important. Kittle didn’t change my opinion about anything, but she made me feel that anything was possible in the writing classroom. I refer to her book often and was lucky enough to attend a one-day workshop she gave in my home town this summer. I think she’s amazing.
A character who you can relate to the most
I think when a book is well written you can relate to almost any character. Obsessive lovers. Crazed psychopaths. Adulterers. I think that’s the beauty of literature and why our reading tastes change over the years. A good writer can make any character relate-able on some level. That’s why I believed the brother/sister relationship in Billy Dead; the reason Judas Coyne, egomaniac ex-rock star of Joe Hill’s fabulous Heart-Shaped Box was essentially sympathetic; why I laughed out loud with Becky Bloomwood (from Confessional of a Shopaholic.) It’s the reason why Stephen King’s books are so successful – the people in peril are everyman/woman types; they could be us.
Even the characters I don’t relate to can be learned from. I can scoff at them, say I’d never behave that way or laugh at their foibles. Characters are friends…for the time I am with them.
A book that you wish more people would’ve read
Books are such personal things – my thing won’t necessarily be your thing. We’ve all encountered books that we’ve loved, we’ve passed on, only to have them returned to us with a shrug. It’s one of the reasons why my book club’s cardinal rule is that we have to choose a book we haven’t read. – less potential for hurt feelings. Of course, it’s human nature to want to share things you’ve loved with other people and books are certainly no exception. We’ve all been there, though, when a book you’ve adored is met with a less than enthusiastic reaction.
Still, it doesn’t stop us from trying to spread the book love by sharing with others. Whenever I discover a new book I try to encourage others to read it. For a while it was Marcus Zusak’s incredible tale, The Book Thief, which I have been advocating for a class set of for our school since I read it. So, so good. Truly, in any study of the Holocaust, this is a must read. It’s funny, heart-breaking and beautifully written.
Then after I read John Connolly’s novel The Book of Lost Things I started passing that around. Another story so deserving of a huge audience.
I ‘ve loaned out Kristin McCloy’s Velocity many times over the years (the reasons should be obvious if you’ve been reading this meme from the beginning.)
Reading is a solo activity, but books belong to us all.
A book you’ve wanted to read for a long time but still haven’t
…and the list goes on. There are books on my tbr shelf that have been there for years. Literally. Hello, my name is Christie and I have a book addiction. I could walk over to my bookshelf now and name a dozen books that I want to read and just haven’t got around to yet. Sarah Walters’ The Little Stranger, one of the two other John Connolly’s I have on the shelf. Kate Morton. Another Thomas H. Cook. My tbr shelf is actually like a mini bookstore. So many books, so little time.
Favourite book you own
Every book I own is my favourite book. I love all my books – the books I owned as a kid which are now (mostly) on my daughter’s bookshelves; the books I read to my kids which are now (mostly) downstairs on a bookshelf; the books I’ve purchased at secondhand stores and Indigo and Costco and the library book sale; books I’ve ordered from Abe and Book Closeouts and Chapters. Some people read a book and pass it on. I sometimes lend them, but then I worry about them constantly like a mother worries about children she’s sent out to play. Will they return unharmed? In one piece? At all? Sometimes I write in books. Sometimes I fold over corners. Sometimes I stick my nose in the valley made between the pages. Sometimes I drop them in the tub or spill something on them or break their spines. But I do it all with love. I love unread books waiting for me to choose them. I love those I’ve read and reread, lined up on my bookshelves (beautifully made by my brother, Tom) – each one special because of the time I’ve spent with it.
All my books are favourite books.