The Overwhelming Challenge of Finding a Satisfying Book to Read

30 Dec

All of us who read know the glorious feeling of being lost in a good book. “Lost” probably isn’t the right word, because although we may be lost to the physical world around us, we are very much present in the world an author has created.

But how do you find those books? I find myself frequently picking up books that turn out to be less than satisfying, but like many people, I rarely set a book aside and don’t finish it, especially a novel.

I just finished reading The Scarpetta Factor by Patricia Cornwell. I picked it up because I know she is a popular suspense writer and wanted to see what she was all about. I am a fast reader, and I made it through 400+ pages because I wanted to find out “who done it” and why, but I found it repetitive and slow going. So much for that. I also tried to get through The Gulag Archipelago by Alexandr Solzhenitsyn. I am giving up after 242 pages. Just can’t do it, but I’m glad I made the effort.

Now I sit wondering what to read next. Shall I read one of the books waiting on my night stand, or go out to the book store this afternoon and find something new?

Just for fun — Here are a few of the books I read in 2011 that drew me in to the world created by the author.

Little Bee by Chris Cleave – An African immigrant to the UK. A story that touches your heart and makes you think.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson – Now that the movie has come out in the US, everyone knows these books. I loved all three of them. Although the stories are violent and sometimes difficult to read, the characters are unforgettable.

An African Affair by Nina Darnton – I keep recommending this book. The author is a former journalist who lived in Nigeria and her novel draws on her experiences there in the 1990s.

Children and Fire by Ursula Hegi – A teacher in Germany in the 1930s and her growing understanding of who and what the Nazis really were.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett – Another one that most people are familiar with because of the movie. Both were excellent — funny and thought-provoking.

Lyrics Alley by Leila Aboulela – A wonderful look into life in Sudan during the British colonial period.

Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford – Set in Seattle at the beginning of World War II. It is the story of a young Chinese boy and his friendship for a Japanese girl.

I used to link book title to Amazon. From now on I will link to the author’s website. You can buy them wherever you want. I recommend supporting an independent bookstore — if you can find one!

 

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