Little Help: The Last Book You Read?

I read a book yesterday. An entire book–all 286 pages. I got it the other day from the library upon a recommendation from a trusted friend.

The story held my attention and made me think about some things I’d not previously considered: the local devastation after a nuclear power plant melts down and teen homelessness. It’s not that I had absolutely zero knowledge on either topic; it’s just that I’d never spend an entire day absorbed in a story about a sixteen-year-old girl navigating through the (mental and physical) rubble of her life borne of an accident.

I learned a new word: “cadge.”

The point of view, i.e., first person, reinforced for me how powerful a story told from this vantage can be. It made me immediately want to edit two manuscripts that await on my bookshelf for my attention.

As I read, I wondered about the author. I wondered whether his storytelling was easy this book being his 17th. I wondered whether he questioned his ending coming off as a deus ex machina. (For those who don’t know what that is: A deus ex machina is an unexpected power or event saving a seemingly hopeless situation, especially as a contrived plot device in a play or novel.) I wondered if he considered this a “great book” of his.

While I still read for pleasure, in many ways, I read to see how others write. The pacing and structure, the use of language and nuance, the interior conflicts and story arc have all become raised and apparent when I view a novel both from the perspective of a reader and a writer.

Image result for bookshelf

I am curious about your experiences, whether you are a reader or both a writer and a reader.

What is the last book you read? Cover to cover?

What is the last memorable book you read? What made it so?

What is the last good book you read? What made it so?

Thanks in advance for your feedback. It’ll help me when I conceive my next story.





11 thoughts on “Little Help: The Last Book You Read?

  1. I’ve read a few good books in the last month but the one that I will mention was written by a former colleague at Digital and who is a contemporary in age. That means he and I are about the same age and he served in the US Army during the Vietnam Era. The Book, “The Victory that Wasn’t”, by Steve Vachss. This is not a cover to cover read in one sitting, the detailed chronology and extensive list of key players made the re-reading of chapters or passages a requirement. The very unique and interesting structure of the book is that it is a case of “alternative History”, ie., what would the end of the story be if a handful of events had not happened or if certain decisions had been made differently. The Vietnam Conflict was a major turning point in American history. “Victory that Wasn’t” describes our soldiers returning home to glorious acclaim as at the end of WWII. Vietnam adopted free democracy and thrived as a nation of free people. The book was researched meticulously and the key decision points that stole away victory and left defeat were credible and persuasive. It does help to have lived during that era and to have been captive to daily journalism regarding the daily battles and bodycount. Back when I worked with Steve we never talked about the military and I never knew that he was an Army journalist so the book was a surprise. It’s fun to read books by people you know. (Wink, Wink!!)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Jenna,

    The last book I read, cover to cover, was The Martian, by Andy Weir. I think you might have read my recent review on my blog. By cover to cover, I think you mean read in its entirety? Or do you mean gobbled up in one long reading session? If the former, The Martian. If the latter, see The Girl on the Train, below.

    The last memorable book I read (as in, it was so good I still think about it) was probably Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven. I wrote a blurb on that book on the blog too, but under What I’m Reading (scroll down), before I settled on the format of the blog. I loved this book because its subject matter might be considered “genre”, but it was written in a decidedly literary style.

    The last good book I read was probably The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. There’s a review on the blog, of course. I liked this book a lot because it reels you in early and won’t let go. I think I read it in 3 days, which is a record me for lately. The author alternates first-person points of view in different time periods, a before and after kind of format. A real page-turner.

    You can look at the reviews on the blog for more details, if it helps. Hope this helps, happy reading!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Not in any big way. Sometimes I think I should read more carefully than I do, take notes or something, but I don’t. I don’t want my joy of reading to become a chore. I might notice the author’s use of point of view, or something, the structure of the book. I just hope it sinks in, you know? 🙂 Writing reviews and talking about books helps me untangle them a little more, too.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Let’s see… I just finished Paris by Edward Rutherford. I read it mostly because I’m a little obsessed with all things French in general, and Paris in particular. It was pretty good, mostly. It was quite long and finishing it probably had more to do with my insomnia than with its particular merits, although I do enjoy stories that weave narrative across generations and centuries, as this novel did.
    At the moment I’m reading a couple of nonfiction books on depression along with The Martian, The Piano Shop on the Left Bank by Thad Carhart, and the Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender.
    I am a reader and a writer. I write in my journal several times a week, I write in my blogs from time to time, and I write press releases and the occasional article about art.
    The last truly memorable book I read was All the Light We Cannot See by Jonathan Doerr. Gorgeously written tale, very surprising. I was fascinated from start to finish.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Last books read: Dispatches, by Michael Herr, the Ender series, currently rereading Lord of the Flies. On a morality of war and mankind’s essential illness kick at the moment.

    Liked by 1 person

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