Sunday, July 18, 2010
The Book of Air and Shadows
Nevertheless, I keep trying them in an effort to prove myself wrong. Surely there are authors that write masterfully in the English language while at the same time, can tell a darn fine story. Well, I've found one in Michael Gruber. The Book of Air and Shadows is a fantastic fictional story, a thriller of sorts involving the discovery of a long lost unknown Shakespeare play. The book has all of the elements I love including a fascinating plot, intrigue galore, cool settings, and complete characterization. But, this is truely a "literary" novel in that Mr Gruber has produced a genuine work of art. He does not stoop to the devices of lesser (although perhaps best selling) literary authors such as I refered to in the first paragraph. He does not use a large word where a smaller one will do just fine, merely for the sake of using a larger word. He doesn't lose the reader in a maze of prose, forcing them to re-read sections to try and figure out what the author is trying to say. This book is not boring in any sense but rather vibrant. It's like the difference between a black and white photograph and full color.
This novel is one of the best I've read all year. I checked out Mr Gruber's website and paid special attention to one of his essays, "Writing Life: A Short Guide". I often look up authors of books I enjoy, attempting to glean tips on how to improve my own writing and Mr Gruber summarizes much of what I've read elsewhere. For example, most authors say a good writer is first, a good reader. Mr Gruber puts it this way: "Read both stuff you like and difficult stuff that people you respect have told you is great." That's what I try to do and the main reason I read what are considered to be the great classics as well as those books that are classified as "literary" novels. Thank-you Michael Gruber for a great book, and the will to keep trying those other "literary" books.
Top 10 Books in no particular order (Well Known Authors)
- "The Stand" by Stephen King
- "Kane and Able" by Jeffrey Archer
- "The Killer Angels" by Michael Shaara
- "The Dark Elf Trilogy" by RA Salvatore
- "Name of the Wind" by Patrick Rothfuss
- "River God" by Wilbur Smith
- "Mortalis" by RA Salvatore
- "Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card
- "Centennial" by James A Michener
- "The Repairman Jack" series by F. Paul Wilson