Monday, May 27, 2013

The Books I Wish Were Mine

What existing book do you wish you could have written?

by Meredith Cole

We've all had that experience, I'm sure. You read an amazing book, zipping through it in just a matter of hours (if you're me--I read very fast). And at the end, you take a deep breath and feel so disappointed that the book is over. If you're in the middle of struggling through writing a book, you might also feel incredible envy. I wish I'd thought of that and written that, you think. Of course, it's totally impossible to have written exactly the book another writer wrote, but here's a few I would have loved to have written if I could:

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

If there is something wrong with this book, I haven't found it yet. Each time I read and reread it, I discover more interesting layers to the story. The book is about childhood, the South, race relations, parenting, friendship, fear, bravery, justice... But it never feels didactic or dull. It is a very nuanced portrait of the American South which, as someone who grew up in Virginia just an hour from the Capital of the Confederacy, I appreciate. The fact that her friend Dill was based on her childhood friend Truman Capote is just icing on the cake.

When Where There Be Good News? by Kate Atkinson

This book has multiple plot lines and crimes, and many of them are never sewn up. Normally this would drive me crazy, but I was pulled in by her voice and characters. I loved how the book was so puzzling and interesting and I stayed with it every step of the way.

Turtle Moon by Alice Hoffman

I loved the notion that there is a period of time every year in this Florida town when everyone goes a bit crazy. Turtles crawl across the road. Bushes burst into flame. And this year a teenager steals a baby. The images stuck with me for a long time, although I don't remember the plot very much. Alice Hoffman's voice is always strong, and she blends the supernatural into her stories with a kind of careless confidence that I really admire. And her images are always amazing.

There you go. Three books among the many that have stuck with me over the years. So--what books do you wish you'd written?


Peg Cochan said...

To name a recent book, Gone Girl.

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

Great choices, Meredith! To Kill A Mockingbird is my fav book of all time.

Meredith Cole said...

I enjoyed Gone Girl, too, Peg! Although I thought it kind of fell apart at the end, she created a wonderful foreboding atmosphere...

Catriona McPherson said...

Interesting. I'm a huge Atkinson fan, but when will there be good news is my least favourite (it's the one set in Edinburgh, right?) I wih I'd written The Shipping News.

Meredith Cole said...

I need to read more Atkinson, I think... You're right, Catriona, Shipping News is such an interesting book. Once again, I remember images from it but not much of the plot.