I’ve always loved telling stories. My favorite is the one where I sent the wrong letter to the right missionary. We were married the next summer. I attended LDS Business College where I earned an Associate’s in Computer Technology and Brigham Young University where I should have majored in English. I live in a small town nestled in the heart of the Appalachians. When I’m not busy writing, I can be found baking cookies, going to the movies, helping with the homework or catching fireflies with my handsome husband and four adorable children.
Saturday, January 7, 2012
I have this gift, or maybe it's a curse. I can walk down the aisle at the bookstore and tell just by looking what books are good and which ones are going to make me feel like I'm covered in soul-sucking slime when I'm done. I can't even pretend ignorance when it turns out bad.
I was talking to a Institute teacher the other day and he said he has a hard time sitting through Sunday School because the minute the teacher starts, he's critiquing the person in his head. He's a teaching snob. Likewise, I've become a book snob. Because once you know how to craft a plot, and that every character should be round (as in not flat, as in they should take a journey, show growth, etc.) you can't talk yourself into liking something mediocre. Those of you who don't know what I'm talking about? Consider yourself lucky. There was a time when I thoroughly enjoyed authors who mostly tell instead of show. A lot of them are famous and make lots of money. I can't even read them anymore. I bet some of you are nodding your heads with me. Can I get an Amen, sista?
So we've established that I like good writing.
But I love stuff that, when I'm through, I feel like a better person because of it. Things like this are rare but they are out there. And my goal as a writer is to write this kind of stuff. But until my stuff gets published you'll just have to suffer through with this list I've come up with. (We're having humble pie for dinner.)
Best books, in no particular order:
1. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Gerald Lund's The Kingdom and The Crown. The Work and the Glory isn't bad, but this helps you really understand parables and what happened when Christ lived.
2. These Is My Words. It's a love story, a life story, a pioneer type of story. This is probably the best journal-style book I've ever read.
3. I've said this one before too. David Bowman's Who's Your Hero Series. Even after all these years my kids are still mesmerized.
4. Being Sixteen by Ally Condie--a story about sisters, eating disorders and having your heart broken. This is probably the best written YA LDS novel ever written. (IMHO of course.) And it's a standard I try to live up to when I write.
5. The Secret Journal of Brett Colton by Kay Lynn Mangum. A story about a teenage girl who gets to know her dead brother through a journal he left for her. It's beautiful, but grab a box of tissues. You need it.
6. Seven Daughters and Seven Sonsby Cohen and Lovegood. Not to be confused with Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Not even close. This is an Iraqi love story. And as weird as it sounds, I can honestly tell you, it's one of my favorite books. Maybe my favorite. I read it over and over. It's got such a great plot and a gentle love story.
But do you see how short that is? I'm either having a senior moment or this is a really sad world we live in.
Now here's my challenge to you: I'm getting on a plane on Tuesday and flying clear across the country. And I'm just realizing that the book I ordered to read on the trip may not get here in time. I need suggestions, people! Give me good, heart-warming, you feel so happy when you're done, books. That doesn't mean that have to be cheeseball romances with happy endings (though romances are greatly appreciated). Just an ending where you feel super satisfied.
How often are you solicited for advice? Go on. You know you want to.