On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
One of the books I read early in the year remains a favorite. If you read one book on writing, make it this. Or read it as a memoir of one of the greatest writers of our time. An authentic voice is such an elusive thing. Stephen King does it so effortlessly.
To imagine him facing near death halfway through his writing and still producing such a great book speaks to his skills as an author.
I learned a lot from this book and wholeheartedly recommend it.
The Lost Queen by Signe Pike
This is the first book in her trilogy, and I loved this tale about the legendary Merlin and his twin sister. Medieval Scotland comes alive with the author’s vivid descriptions. As I read the story, I could picture the majestic mountains and simpler abodes. I saw the trees that reached the sky and flowers growing underfoot. I could smell the leather and herbs. As a vegetarian, I did not imagine tasting the food, but she described them in detail. The protagonist, Languoreth, is introduced as a young girl in a magical land.
This quote defines her life: “We may not always have the choice we would like. But we always have a choice.”
Her passion and love bring her momentary bliss, followed by worry and grief. She is headstrong and flawed and took me along on an emotional rollercoaster.
The brother-sister relationship depicted here reminded me of my trilogy Land of Magadha, where the siblings are the protagonists. Good to see more stories explore this beautiful relationship.
I look forward to reading the next book in this trilogy. Recommend for historical fiction and historical fantasy readers.
The Hundred Secret Senses by Amy Tan
This book is a slow read. That said, brilliant writing by Amy Tan. Each chapter is immaculate in bringing us into the characters’ lives. The way the story unfolds is masterful.
It is a tale of two sisters, Chinese immigrant Kwan and her American-born sister Olivia. I can still picture Kwan in my head, calling her little sister Libby-ah. As an immigrant, I could relate to many things this immigrant from China does. I don’t have ghost stories to narrate like Kwan, but the tales my grandmother told me as a child inspired me to write.
The relationship between the sisters is raw and real. It simultaneously broke my heart and brought a smile to my face. It is a story of identity, one we are born with, one we show to the world, and the true self that is hidden even from ourselves. We all need a sister like Kwan to be our voice of reason.
What are your favorite books that you read this year?