Wednesday, April 9, 2008

There Are So Very Few....

I love to read - always have, but for some strange reason, I am just not a fan of most contemporary authors. Most seem to escalate the minutiae in our lives, and maybe that is what life is really all about and I'm just missing it. Somehow though,contemporary authors are seem so trivial in what they choose to write. I like a book that makes me think, and maybe, just maybe, elevates me to some greater truth. Is that expecting too much?

I loved the Kite Runner by Khaled Hoiseini, and last night, very late... I finished A Thousand Splendid Suns. I didn't think that it was possible to outdo his original work, but for me, A Thousand Splendid Suns surely outshines it's predecessor. Like Kite Runner, it examines life in Afghanistan, but this time from a female perspective.

I learned so much about the culture of Afghanistan through this works, but I also feel like I learned some greater truths - the greatest triumph any literary work can aspire to, in my opinion. Even though both works have their share of tragedy, in the end the main characters find redemption and meaning. From the very first page of A Thousand Splendid Suns to the word, I was fascinated and engrossed in the stories of the women, Miriam and Laila. If you have not read either of these works, I can not recommend them highly enough.

What writers do you enjoy reading and why? Do you think that their works reveal some greater truth about humanity? Does their work elevate you in some way? Or is that not what you look for in a book?


Roe said...

Aside from the obvious (Tolkien - maybe not so contemporary?), I'd have to say anything that Neil Gaiman writes is aces with me. I've been reading his stuff since the Sandman comics when I was in college, and I love his writing, his sense of the fantastic in the every day, and his wry sense of humor.

Jean Plaidy, although probably not contemporary, wrote some brilliant historical fiction about the Tudor Queens, Mary Queen of Scots, and more that I'm still working my way through. I like Philippa Gregory, but Jean Plaidy did it first. Speaking of Gregory, you can add her to my list of contemporary authors that I like.

Jim Butcher is another author I'll pick up books by. He's written the Dresden Files series that I love. He writes about Harry Dresden, a modern-day wizard who works as a police consultant.

I read a lot of non-fiction, but I read more fiction. And within that, I read a lot of science fiction. Because I read to unwind, to escape. I like being informed, but really, I need my imagination to be let out of its stuffy box and breathe.