Rx: My Top Five

 

  1. THE GOLDFINCH by Donna Tartt – The writing is absolutely beautiful. Tartt has an incredible way of immersing you into her main character, Theo’s mind, world, and emotions: you feel exhausted when he’s exhausted – you feel like time dragging on when he feels time dragging on. The main criticism I found readers had was that they felt Theo’s time in Vegas lagged and stalled the action of the plot – but isn’t that just the point? He feels the same way, and Tartt’s ability to instill that connection in her reader is incredible. I love that she introduces us to an exciting new world of black market art dealing and antiques and it feels completely natural. Her way of describing art itself made me more appreciative of the pieces and made me want to go to The Met and see them myself. Her descriptive eye is unparalleled.
  2. SWEETBITTER by Stephanie Danler – Wow. I love so many aspects of this book, I can’t even begin to describe every detail in one short paragraph – the poetry, the sensuality of each and every description, the short scenes that fade in and out like distilled moments in time. Mostly I love how subtle Danler is, and how she wasn’t bullied by the market asking for a traditional happy ending. I love that Tess doesn’t end up with Jake. I think Simone’s character is so perfectly drawn and I definitely know a few Simones. I love that she brings light to what’s real and needs to be acknowledged: women are sexual and that’s okay, men of power do take advantage of their employees, women in power are threatened by up-and-comings, diners feel a sense of superiority over their servers, etc, etc, etc . . .
  3.  SHARP OBJECTS by Gillian Flynn – I love Flynn’s message about women being allowed to look for outlets for power, violence, and sex the way that men find them (and are catered to by the market). She tells her readers that she was “never a good little girl,” and I think that line is the perfect way to set the tone for all of Flynn’s books. She writes about the dark, ugly side, the side that is kept hidden. I particularly love sharp objects because I think that of her three books it is the most well thought out. Her characters are interesting, they have distinguished voices, and the alternating narrative propels the plot forward – you need to read the next chapter to find out what happens after the one you just read! Before you know it, you’ve finished the book in one sitting. I love the details in this book – the words the main character carves into her skin, the way her mother pulls her eyelashes out when she is stressed. I don’t even remember the plot, I read it that long ago, yet these moments stuck with me and I remember being completely enthralled by Flynn.
  4. THE LUCKIEST GIRL ALIVE by Jessica Knoll – I love the darkly written narrator in Knoll’s work – she writes characters very similar to the characters that I write, and I really appreciated how clearly I could hear her voice. I love an unapologetically flawed narrator, and I think it’s done really well here – we are invested in her, we want to know more, but she’s not a cliche. My only real problem with the novel was the end – I felt it was rushed and farfetched and could have been so much better had it taken a more subtle approach.
  5. THE NIGHT CIRCUS by Erin Morgenstern – Ah, yes – this book I have fond memories of reading. Morgenstern has a way of creating a fantastical world around you that not many authors can do. It’s been a while since a competing title has come close to touching Morgenstern’s imagination. I admit I haven’t done much reading about this author, but I would LOVE to find out what inspired her and how she came up with her ideas. Again, this is a book I read so long ago that I don’t remember all the details except to say that the magic of her language made a lasting impression on me.

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