I love coming across good books, and am always very quick at putting aside others that I am not enjoying, even though I may only have read a few pages. I realise that the secret of a good book is that it teaches me something new about the human condition, and was pleased to find the following in an article about one of my favourite yet not all that well-known American writers, Elizabeth Strout, whose latest book My Name is Lucy Barton is now included in this list. The article quotes her as saying that ”…her five novels have begun “always, always” with a person, and her eyes and ears are forever open to these small but striking human moments, squirreling them away for future use. ”Character, I’m just interested in character,” she says”. And then, “But ever since I was young, I have seen writing as trying to help people. That sounds so corny but that’s really what I see as my job – trying to open somebody’s eyes just a little bit for one minute. So, yeah, there are times I think, “This is foolish,” but I don’t know that it’s any more foolish than any other acts of trying to help the world.”
realise that in my own way I also like to think of my writing as trying to help
the world understand human beings a little more, in my case particularly
through the medium of the five elements.
here are two further American writers with books I want to add to my list of favourites. One is a beautiful writer of what are called graphic books, which is how they describe all types of illustrated books, from
cartoons to novels. The writer Lauren Redniss has illuminated my last few days with her book
called Thunder and Lightning, which
is about the natural forces of nature.
It is quite beautifully illustrated, with a handwritten text which
intertwines itself around the illustrations so that each page becomes an interesting
work of art.
my final author recommendation today is a prize-winning book by Anthony Doerr All the Light We Cannot See about a
young German soldier in the Second World War and a blind young French girl. –
very moving, very true and beautifully written.