Thursday, August 18, 2011

In Which We Will Discuss Mindblowing Books and What Makes them Mindblowing

Okay, as you know, Marissa is super, super busy, so she's gone dark for a while. So dark, I can't even help her out until things lighten up enough for her to give me marching orders. And that means that we have to stay out of trouble all by ourselves on Mondays and Thursdays. Eh hem. So are you ready?

I want to discuss books. From a writerly perspective, from a readerly perspective, from a change the face of the universe perspective. Talk. Learn. Grow. Kind of a glorified book club, for writers. There may be wine. (Okay, prosecco.) And chocolate. Much chocolate.

The way I'm thinking we might do this, on Thursdays we take names. You tell me what books you read recently that blew you away, and why they rocked you. Hopefully by Thursday night we will have a sort of consensus, and anyone who hasn't read it can glance at it, start it, read the cheat sheets, or at least go buy it if you are still lucky enough to have a bookstore somewhere within driving distance. Then on Monday, we will kick off our shoes and dish about what "rules" were broken, what "rules" were kept, what worked, what didn't work, what almost worked, and what created magic when it shouldn't have worked at all. Because you know what, we all look for blueprints, and that's fine. Necessary even. We have to know the structure, recognize and understand the construction techniques and the masterpieces others have built, before we can tread our own path. But at some point, we have to get off the highway and follow the shooting star in the wilderness.

I didn't expect to see the Perseids the other night. In fact, I forgot all about them. I didn't even connect the two shooting stars my daughter saw while we were driving with the meteor shower I vaguely knew was coming. And then I was just sitting on the couch with my son catching up on the final episode of Game of Thrones, and a bright green flash arced past the window and disappeared into the horizon. We went out and watched for an hour after that and never saw anything. I'm not sure if that was a bad thing. I find its usually the unexpected flashes of brilliance that make the biggest impact.

I'm thinking of a book for next Monday. In its own way, that book is this generation's Wizard of Oz. It's a hero's journey. It's even based on Cervantes' brilliant (okay, in my opinion it totally is, and I'll take on anyone who says otherwise) The Ingenious Hidalgo Don Quixote of La Mancha. I even gave you a hint in the title of this post.

What do you think? Will that book work, or can you think of something else you read recently that accelerated your short, cotton stocking into an alternate dimension? (You do realize that's what happens to all those missing socks, right? One goes missing every time someone reads something spectacular.)


  1. Great idea! I just started FOREVER, the third book in the wolves of Mercy Falls series. I'm not far in, but I can tell you it was like settling back into a familiar favorite chair. I thought to myself, "I'd forgotten how beautifully she writes. I'm going to enjoy this." So that's my suggestion!

  2. Wow, this sounds really fun! Not sure what book you're talking about for the first one, which probably means I live under a rock and that I haven't read it. ;o) I just recently finished ENTWINED by Heather Dixon, if enough people have read that and want to discuss it.

  3. Both great suggestions, although I hesitate to jump into a the third book, we could do Shiver if peeps wanted. I haven't read Entwined yet, although I do love fairy tale retellings and the dancing princesses in particular have a very rich symbolism and foundation in folklore and religion.

    Carol, I feel like a dork for being so cryptic. I was talking about Libba Bray's Going Bovine, which breaks so many of the conventional "rules" and becomes a masterpiece of creative storytelling. Not to mention that I will never look at a gnome or a snowglobe or a bowling alley the same way.

    Anyone else, chime in. I know we're all over at the brilliance that is WriteOnCon, but we need some tiebreakers!


  4. I love this idea. I hope I can participate, although I start back to college on Monday, so I may be too swamped and/or dead to read. lol

  5. Great idea, at the moment ploughing - oops sorry - through Hardy for inspiration for my latest children's novel, so you see, ideas can come from unlikely places. :0)

  6. Deri, suggest a book you've already read. Or have you ready any of the three we've discussed?

    Carole Anne, we could certainly discuss Tess, although I'm not sure there's be many people jumping in on that one. Interesting inspiration, though. I have to admire it! Gotta love the reminder about Hardy, too. His first novel never got published and he killed it completely when it was rejected. Wonder who was ultimately more upset about that. :D

  7. Aha! I've always wanted to read GOING BOVINE but haven't yet. I actually have read SHIVER. I've read DIVERGENT too, which would also generate some good discussion. Maybe do one of those poll things? Dunno. Or just plan a few books and see what happens. There's always going to be some who have read and some who haven't.

    Ha, don't feel like a dork, Martina! LOL

  8. LOVE Going Bovine!!! Just sticking my nose in again.

  9. Okay, let's do GOING BOVINE. Hopefully a lot of people will have read it, and we'll bring up DIVERGENT and SHIVER next Thursday and see if we can get a consensus, etc. etc.

    Thanks, ladies! Now to get some thoughts together. :D

  10. PS, another good one, though it's newer and maybe not as many people have read it: MATCHED by Ally Condie. :) Aha, now I have to go get GOING BOVINE from the library or somewhere and read it!

  11. I'm going to rush and get Going Bovine - this is a great idea! I've read Shiver (all three actually), that's a good one too, and Divergent is next on my list.

  12. I recently read REVOLUTION by Jennifer Donnelly and FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH by Carrie Ryan. I'm now reading SILVER PHOENIX by Cindy Pon and have IMAGINARY GIRLS and A NEED SO BEAUTIFUL on deck. *phew*


Tell us what you think. We'd love to hear from you! :)