Monday, March 26, 2007

Another down in the 50 Book Challenge

The only good thing to come out of sitting around with a sick little boy this weekend was the chance to read -- albeit uncomfortably, with minimal light and a tingling arm from the pressure of little boy's head. I managed to gobble up a book that's been sitting in my TBR pile since last summer, but kept getting overlooked because of it's length.
(An erotic romance author intimidate by size? WTF?)

Turns out this is one of the best books I've ever read. Right up there with Middlesex by Jeffery Euginides, Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner, and The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields. On par with Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden and The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood.
Okay, -- now I'm just bragging ;)

Fall On Your Knees, Ann-Marie MacDonald's debut novel (this in and off itself BLOWS me away) is going on my keeper shelf. Her descriptions, characterizations and unique story-telling was nothing less than ... (searching for appropriate word... coming up empty...) beautiful. Just beautiful. Go ye all and buy this book.
And thank you, Mom, for giving it to me.

When I read books like this I end up questioning my own artistic ability. I could never write with such depth and beauty! It's just not in me. These folks are in a whole other league... I'm Sanjaya to their Fantasia. I'm karaoke to their Met.

But hey (I tells myself) there's room in the ocean for whale sharks and sardines, so I guess I'll just keep swimming.

BTW - just noticed that three of the six I books mentioned are by Canadian authors. It's funny -- I don't purposely seek out Canadian authors (though maybe I should?) but it seems a high-percentage of my 'amazing literature' collection are shrouded in the maple leaf. Hmm...


Candy Minx said...

Oh this was a poerful story wasn't it? I have read her last one "As Crow Flies" yet. I kow so many people who love this novel.

I agree there is room for everybody and every style. We all have the way we like things to read and feel and are natral to how we write.

The thing is, I've often thought about trying to write a "high brow" literary version of a romance novel. I guess that would be Wuthering Heights and Jane Austen. The difference is...those women noticed irony. It's not the long florid descriptive passages ina "high brow" novel that make it literary or "better", I think it's the ability to recognize patterns Wylie.

And then not beating us over the head with the patterns but using them for metaphor and insight. I don't know really, I think if I did I guess I would be doing it myself.

So glad to read your response to such an amazing book.

Robyn Mills said...

I'll look out for it. Hope your littlie is well again. Have you read The Thirteenth Tale yet? It was a debut novel too. Picked up off the slush pile by mistake by another editor... so who knows how your luck will fall when your MS is out of your control.
I notice you like the movie The Red Violin. I did too. Saw it years ago in Manila with a friend. Have you seen Babette's Feast - another movie with subtitles but worth it.

Amy Ruttan said...

What is it about ... a who cares the cover alone would make me pick it up.

Right now I'm finishing Jaci Burton's "Surviving Demon Island", Molly O'Keefe's "My Best Friends Baby" and just started "Into Thin Air", which is some sort of Everest disaster Biopic.

Leah Braemel said...

You liked The Stone Diaries? Ugh! That is on my 'Worst Book written' list, or perhaps 'Why did someone bother wasting the time writing it and worse, why did I bother reading it?' list. I was depressed for a week after reading it. Ah, well, to each his own I suppose.

I'll keep an eye out for this one though. And don't question your own artistic ability - your description of the pirate bar at the critique group was beautiful! I want to read the rest of your story now. Never underestimate yourself, Wylie!

Wylie Kinson said...

Candy - I haven't read "As the Crow Flies" yet, but will keep a lookout for it next time I browse the bookstore.

Robyn - Red Violin is one movie I've watch over and over. The music is just soul-stirring! I haven't read "The Thirteenth Tale" but will add it to my 'must acquire' list! I did see Babette's Feast (years ago!) and remember liking it, but if you asked me now, I couldn't tell you what it's about! :0

Amy - I loved John Krakauer's "Into Thin Air" despite the fact that it is SO not my type of book!

Leah - LOL -- Yes, literature is indeed subjective! I find some of the best books do indeed make me depressed for a week, if only because they reflect life so accurately.
I'm a big Margaret Atwood fan and so many people I know find her books worse than horrible.
So just goes to prove -- there's room for all of us writers out there in the literary sea!