Sunday, October 17, 2010

Six On Sunday - Fiction

I get a little jittery when pressed to name my six favorite anythings. I don't like being tied down to my answers, because what if I'm wrong? What if I think these are my six favorites, but in reality, I'm forgetting the very best of all?

So, these are most certainly not my six favorite books, but they are six that are burned into my brains. They are fantastic enough that I own my own copy of most. It comforts me to know that they're up on my shelf, tucked in like permanent overnight company. They are so good that I have read some of them more than once, and being a girl wired for surprises, well, that's just not like me.

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Law, this book changed my life. I am only a little embarrassed to say that I caught myself thinking in Aibie's dialect. It couldn't be helped. I was in up to my eyeballs. This book moved me every which way but wrong. Throughout the book, I would say to Cory, "This is why I could never write a novel." It is sublimely well-written and pieced together in a way that I cannot comprehend putting down on paper. It makes my noggin hurt a little just to think about it.

This is a much-hyped book that just so happens to meet expectations. Do yourself a favor. Read the book.

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I read this several years ago, but it goes down in history as a classic. I remember cranking up the electric blanket in my old house and whiling the whole evening away. I think I may have even kissed the cover of this book, which I am known to do when the situation warrants it. (Cory thinks it's funny, but I just think it's pure instinct.) I fell hard for the way this story was written. It was entirely captivating and read almost like a song. It mattered to me. I rued the day that I turned the last page.

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It's true, I'm a bit of an Elizabeth Berg fiend. But hey - there are worse things. I have read every novel she has written with one exception, and I'll leave that up to you to figure out. My girl Sarah introduced me to Berg back in the day, when I manned the rental car desk at the airport. I'll be darned if I didn't read a book a day under the fluorescent glare and baggage claim buzz.

I have relished every book but one (not mentioning any names) but this one is a stand-out. It is written from the perspective of 13-year old Katie Nash and let me tell you - it takes me right back to the blushing awkwardness and achy melodrama. It tells the tale so well of teetering along that wobbly stretch between child and adult. It's spot-on and wicked funny and heart-breakingly poignant.

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First of all - beautiful cover, no? I have always and will forever continue to judge a book by its cover and this one was both haunting and beautiful. Although it has been several years, I remember this not being a light, breezy read. It required more effort than some, but paid off in spades.

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A good book, in my mind, is more about the characters than the plot-line. I fell into this story and didn't surface until I had devoured it all. The honeybee imagery was a sweet note lilting about throughout this touching book. You will smell the sugar from the very first paragraph. Your heart will be bruised and mended and wrapped up like a warm biscuit. You're allowed to watch the movie, which I also loved, but read this first.

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Julie Buxbaum made me cry. She made me laugh and laugh and laugh, but in the end, I was on my couch, in the quiet of the night, boo-hooing to the crickets.

I loved this book so much, I emailed the author.

I am 31 and an avid reader of fiction. I finished your book, The Opposite of Love, over a week ago and am now accruing late fees at the library just so that I don't have to return it quite yet. I have never felt compelled to contact an author before, so this is a first for me. I loved your book. I have been raving about it. I sent my best friend on a mad dash to "Go, find the book! Hurry!"

It seems to me that well-written, engaging books about women like me (at least in some capacity) are hard to come by. I am turned off by chick lit - the kind that makes me feel as though it was churned out in a factory where they dump in several attractive, semi-witty characters and a few plot twists, scramble them up, and print a different combination out every few months. Your book was a breath of fresh air. It was compelling, interesting, funny, intelligent, well-written and in the end, made me cry fairly hard, which is always a sign of goodness, in my view.
She returned my email and sent me an autographed name-plate, which made me love her even more.

This book, more so than the others, is definitely rated PG-13. Don't say I didn't warn you.


So there you have it. My Six on Sunday. I may very well need to do a Part II as I remember more literary gems. (What am I missing, SJH?)

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In the meantime, I'm reading this.

Stay tuned!