Archive for June 16th, 2009

June 16, 2009

a very special reading experience

I am reading the best kind of book right now.

I mean, it’s not the BEST book I’ve read. It’s not one I ran out to by the day it was published, like this one. It’s not one that I can safely say will change my life, like this one. It’s not one I will read, re-read, and clutch to my chest when I turn the last page, every time, like this one.

It’s not the BEST book. It’s the best KIND of book.

It’s the kind of book that I enjoy reading – the plot is interesting, the characters are likeable and I give a crap about them, the story is generally… good!

It’s the kind of book that is similar to what I like to write – typically realistic fiction taking place in average high schools, smart-girl narrators, kind of romancey but not overly so, older-ya audience.

But I read a lot of books like that. So what makes this one different?

It’s the kind of book that’s not SO good that I stand in awe, drooling over it’s amazingness. – like this one, this one, or this one.

Drool-worthy books are great. They are awesome. I read a lot of them, and I recommend them to people all the time, and I read and re-read and read again. Occasionally, I hunker down and try to STUDY one of these awesome wonders but it’s hard work to pay attention to the writing style and the author’s choices because… well… they’re just so GOOD.

If I Stay isn’t a masterpiece.

So I’m not 100% engaged in the story. This is a good thing, because my mind is free to analyze the writing. My mind says, “Oh, that sentence was a little cliche. If I was writing this book, I’d probably not do that.” My mind says, “Wow, that was a good moment. I like how she wrote that little bit there,” or, “Wow, that scene was ridiculously cheesy.”


If I Stay is the kind of book that I KNOW I could out-write. I could write a better book.

And the icing on the cake?

It’s the kind of book that is a book I could have written, a book I could write,

and it’s also a book that gets reviews in national magazines,

and movie deals before the book is even published,


Yes indeed, I like this kind of book. Every writer should go out and read one,

for education,

for inspiration.