Monday, February 13, 2012

10 Things I Love to Read

1. Any story with an opening carrying so much tension it sizzles: BY THE END OF OUR FIRST DAY at Camp Crescendo, the girls in my Brownie troop had decided to kick the asses of each and every girl in Brownie Troop 909. (BROWNIES by ZZ Packer)

2. Manuel Munoz' WHAT YOU SEE IN THE DARK. Imagine: PSYCHO comes to Bakersfield, but what's more interesting--Hitchcock and Janet Leigh, or the real-life murder of Teresa by her cowboy lover Dan? Sharp, eerie stuff.

3. Unreliable narrators. The crazier, the better.

4. Love stories that do not end well.

5. Almost anything posted at FICTIONAUT.

6. This delicious story by LaTanya McQueen How to Date a White Boy in the Winter 2011 issue of JMWW.

7. Characters I give a damn about.

8. Characters I hate.

9. Most anything that does not fit into a genre.

10. Endings that make me weep, laugh, scratch my head, say 'wow' over and over: She put out her hand against the screen. She watched herself push the door slowly open as if she were back safe somewhere in the other doorway, watching this body and this head of long hair moving out into the sunlight where Arnold Friend waited.

"My sweet little blue-eyed girl," he said in a half-sung sigh that had nothing to do with her brown eyes but was taken up just the same by the vast sunlit reaches of the land behind him and on all side of him--so much land that Connie had never seen before and did not recognize except to know she was going to it.
(Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? by Joyce Carol Oates)

And you? What do you love to read?



  1. Hmmmm, 10 things...

    Characters with rich inner lives that are deep, textured, funny, fragile and a lot of other human things rolled into one.

    Stories that explore the depths of what it means to be human.

    Things that can make me FEEL.

    Things that make me laugh (and crying is okay too, and if they can be juxtaposed in the way where I want to do both at the same time, now that is something).

    Things that leave me thinking, remembering passages and images or contemplating meaning days, weeks, preferably years later. Just the other day I was thinking of the implications of the end of White Oleander, which I haven't read in years, and how my feelings about that ending have changed as I've changed. But my favorite ending of any book is probably the end of The God of Small Things. The story itself doesn't end well, but oh the layers of implication in the way the author, Arundhati Roy, chose to end the book.

    Interesting, unique, real-seeming love stories.

    Quirky but not so quirky as to come off as an affect, if that makes sense.

    Your work.

    Work that involves science, real science. Or music.

    Words that are so vivid and profound that I seethe with jealousy at how good they are.


  2. Books that make me laugh, books that make me cry. Books that compell me to re-examine issues I thought I had a position on. Books about people's lives. Books generally. There are comfort reads, and challenging reads and all points in between. I cannot imagine a life without them.

  3. I so agree with #7 and #8. I love characters that make me feel something, no matter what it is.

  4. Brownies kicking other Brownies' asses - how could you NOT want to read that? (just checked the apostrophe rule from Laurita's Rules posted on my fridge. Thanks Laurita!)