What to read next? That’s the trouble with reading a really good book, moving on to something else is always a challenge. I’m just in the last chapters of ‘Shadow of the Wind‘ by Carlos Ruíz Zafrón which is a monster of a book in many ways. It’s a long book, 544 pages, it’s densely written – but that’s not a criticism, the reader is sucked into a world which is surely in another dimension, Barcelona from the beginning of the century to the mid-50’s, It’s many-layered and complex with stories of the different characters weaving in and out – you have to pay attention because a casually mentioned school friend or acquaintance might end up as a major and significant player! The descriptions of the city are enviably wonderfully written – I’m always aware of great writing about scene and location as it’s something I don’t feel I’m very good at. It’s an absolutely brilliant book and utterly engrossing – however when I finish it, what to read next?
I’ve been very fortunate to have come across and read some brilliant books over the last little while, contrasting and different from each other and of various genres, but every so often a simple read is needed. My idea of a simple read is a book which has all the aspects I’ve just mentioned in Zafrón’s book, mystery, puzzles, believable characters, intriguing narrative, great scenic descriptions and well-written – but on a light scale, or ‘lite’ scale. My favourite genre is crime and police procedurals, but there are plenty of mystery books where the puzzle is not criminal, just… well… mysterious!
I’ve mentioned here several books I’ve bought over the last months which promised well from the blurb, but poor characters, unengaging plots (they don’t have to be believable always, just so gripping you don’t care whether it’s possible or not!), clichés (such a crime from a writer!) careless writing, arrogant writing (showing no respect or sometimes even awareness of the reader!) and poor – no worse than poor, dreadful editing, that I’ve become a little disheartened and a little frustrated.
I’m not expecting that every book will complete the tick-list of what I expect from something I’ve bought; I’ve read several books by an author whose writing is sometimes ponderous, but I forgive them because other aspects are good. Or another writer whose characters seem unrealistic but the plots are intriguing and the descriptions captivating.
I am probably a fussy reader, and I do try to learn from what I criticise others for and try to avoid in my own writing. A dear friend made a comment about the ending of one of my novels, and I really appreciated it and in the next novel tried to write the ending in a different more satisfactory way. My cousin who very kindly reads my books, made comments about a character and I thought to myself ‘Damn!! She’s right!!’ so I have really looked at that character in subsequent novels – ok, I confess she was finding Thomas Radwinter irritating – so in the next novel I’ve tried to make Thomas more mature, and his silly over-exuberant personality has been toned down as he has gets older.
So what to read next? Hmm, a dilemma!
If you want to read the book with the ending my friend commented on it’s ”Flipside’ – and I would appreciate your thoughts on it!
If you would like to read the novel where I worked hard to give it a satisfactory ending it’s ‘The Double Act ‘.
You can find Thomas Radwinter’s stories on Amazon:
- Raddy and Syl
- Beyond Hope
- Winterdyke (coming soon, I promise!)