Two more book recommendations
What kinds of books do you like? Do you switch between genres or stick to one? Me, I usually avoid non-fiction. Since I read the newspaper daily, I don’t want more of the same in my free time. Likewise blood and gore; the real world has plenty. No, fiction is definitely my thing, but, within that, I’m eclectic. I’ll read anything that’s highly recommended and well written, though recommended or not, well written or not, if a book is boring fifty pages in, I’m done. Likewise if a book is so dense that I have to struggle to understand it. I’m past school. The reading I do now isn’t for making honor roll. It’s for intellectual stimulation, emotional gratification, and/or pure enjoyment.
So here’s my first recommendation – The Dark Heroine, by Abigail Gibbs. I first read about it in the Wall Street Journal as an example of a self-published book that did well enough to be picked up by a mainstream publisher, which then offered the author a contract for future work. When I learned it was a vampire story, I bought it instantly. I love vampire books and have read a slew of them, but I don’t think I’ve read one quite as colorful or imaginative as The Dark Heroine. And the backstory of the author? She was 14 when she started writing this – that’s right, 14 years old. She is currently 18 and a student at Oxford, which I hope won’t teach her that vampire fiction is bad.
My second recommendation, The Last Runaway, by Tracy Chevalier, is at the other end of the fiction spectrum. I picked it up because I loved Chevalier’s earlier book, “Girl With a Pearl Earring,” which is about a famous painting of the same name by Johannes Vermeer. That one was set in the 1660s, and I thought Chevalier did a masterful job weaving fiction into history through a voice that felt totally real. The Last Runaway may be set in 1851, but the weaving is as skillful, and the voice – ahhh, smooth and serene even in the most stressful of times. This one focuses on a young Quaker woman in Ohio in the days leading up to the Civil War. It is a thought-provoking book about the ways of the Quakers and the clash between their view of freedom and that of a government in which slavery is clinging to life by a last ugly thread.
As always, what I’ve written here isn’t a book review, simply a heads-up about books I think are worthwhile. Both of the above have strong heroines, always key for me. And both are exceedingly well written. If you’re in the mood for paranormal fun, try The Dark Heroine. If you’re in the mood for a thought-provoking read, try The Last Runaway. BTW, it wasn’t until a week after I finished the latter that I realized the title didn’t refer only to slaves. I’m still pretty awed by that.