I've been on a reading frenzy lately. I've been writing too, don't worry, even 8.5 months pregnant, I don't neglect my writing.
Read "If I Tell You I Love You, I'd have to Kill You" by Ally Carter.
When I read the back cover, my first reaction was, "Man, I wish I'd thought of this brilliant idea!" Now that I've read it, I'm glad I didn't. Ms. Carter did an excellent job! I found her voice engaging, her characters fun and the plot hilariously outrageous. Having said that, I was a little sad that the boyfriend, Josh, was a little two-dimensional. Sure, he was a nice, sweet, forgiving boyfriend, but I'm not sure he had much personality. But really, reading back on my jr. high journals, I really didn't know the boys I had crushes on. I mostly saw that they were hot, and hoped for this ideal that couldn't possibly be expected of a young kid at that age. Anyway, I enjoyed it so much, I think I'll try submitting to her agent and see how it goes. My book is sort of the same, fast-paced, humorous, completely unlikely. Ms. Carter is way funnier, but it was the same old joke of "well, I thought of all the ways I could kill him" that after a while I wanted some other joke.
A Curse Dark As Gold by Elizabeth Brunce
I actually met the author at my local indy book store and I owned a signed copy. Nanner, nanner. This book won all sorts of awards, hit Oprah's must read list and it deserved it. It was well written, impeccable language, wonderful imagery, bewitching use of verbs. Having met her in person, I could almost hear Ms. Brunce telling this story. But it will never be pulp fiction. It's too good. Read: it was dense, I had to think, it was inspiring. It was not a quick read. It reminds me of a blog post written by Shannon Hale, I'll see if I can post the link here, if I can find it again. She mentioned that there are several types of authors, those that are an overnight success, to everyone's surprise (think S. Meyer or Ms. Rowling), those that write beautiful prose, win awards, but nobody reads the book, those that are midlisters, meaning they write a book a year, and they do well enough that the publishers let them keep writing and keep selling their books but nobody's ever heard of them, they've never broken out. There might have been some more types, but I think it's interesting that she asks, what type of writer do you want to be? So I'm answering that question here. I'd love to write a beautifully written book that is praised by Oprah and quoted by others, but honestly, that's not my personality. I want to be a break out writer. I'm ambitious, I hope that I think big and act big and never do anything by half-measures. But how many of those midlisters also feel the same way?