Thursday, December 29, 2011

Top Ten Inspiring Novels

We continue our series of Top 10 lists from the QBR fans with this great list from classic to current reads.

By R. Lynn Wilson

1.       F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby – Fitzgerald’s diction and syntax verily exude the tension and frustration of unfulfilled longing, of living every single moment of one’s life to achieve one stellar goal, and never realizing it was always out of reach.

2.       Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief – That Zusak can make Death both narrator and teacher of lessons in humanity is proof of authorial genius.  At times I could read only a half page at a time before needing a moment to absorb and move on.

3.       Jonathan Safran Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close – The events of 9/11 told from a nine-year-old narrator who knows more about loss and the processes of grief than anyone should ever have to experience.

4.       Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried – O’Brien’s novel reads like a treatise on distortion of reality to attain truth.  That the text is not non-fiction is often surprising, and possibly upsetting, to readers.

5.       Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible – Kingsolver’s prose reads like poetry.  The writing is intelligent and alluring, and the characters are unforgettable.

6.       Pat Conroy’s Beach Music – This compelling novel is appropriately titled in that Conroy’s imagery fairly sings.  Beautiful, living imagery serves as the backdrop for some heartbreaking characters who compel readers to evaluate their own shortcomings.

7.       Yann Martel’s Life of Pi – This bizarre novel is as difficult to describe as it is to put down.  Martel reminds us to choose carefully which tigers we decide to set sail with.

8.       Jane Hamilton’s The Book of Ruth – Ruth tells her story in harsh, unvarnished truth.  The paradox of a strong, blunt voice coming from an average, nearly invisible character is undeniably captivating.

9.       John Steinbeck’s East of Eden – Steinbeck turns the timeless struggle of good and evil into a masterpiece of artistic language.  There are moments when the narrator’s voice breaks through the plot and leaves the reader stunned at the beauty of the words.

10.   Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove – If I could choose any group of characters I’d like to hang out with, it would be McMurtry’s band of flawed, heroic adventurers.  I found myself so thoroughly immersed in the story that I was incapable of separating the characters from my subconscious.  The one work that most inspired my own novel, Maggie’s Fall, was Lonesome Dove.  I treasure the grit and humanity that McMurtry infuses into his characters.  I am forever indebted and grateful.

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  1. Thank you for inviting me to participate. I think your website is going to be outstanding, and I look forward to watching it grow.
    R. Lynn Wilson,
    author of
    Maggie’s Fall