Tag: Diana Gabaldon

WHAT A GREAT STORY! by CHERYL PIERSON

Well, summer’s over, and fall is “on the way”! I wish I could say I had an actual “beach read” but we haven’t taken a vacation in years, and probably won’t in the foreseeable future now that we have our two furbabies. So we have to do little fun things locally, and try to relax at home—which is sometimes hard to do. But one way I can always escape is with a good book—and I have read (and re-read) some wonderful ones this summer.

Have you ever read a book that you didn’t want to finish because it was so good you didn’t want the story to end? I remember when I read Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series—that was how I felt. A lot of people don’t like lengthy books, but I love them—the more intricate and in-depth the characters and plotlines are, the more I enjoy them I was so glad to have “the next one” to go to in that series, and though there were some I liked better than others, I thought they were all well-written and entertaining!

 

I read a book this summer called The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson that was in this category. I could not put it down, but I didn’t want it to be over! Linda Broday had recommended it and I went right over and bought it from Amazon. I rarely do that, but something about the way Linda talked about that book made me want to read it, and put it right at the top of my TBR pile! I was NOT disappointed. Here’s the blurb:

The hardscrabble folks of Troublesome Creek have to scrap for everything?everything except books, that is. Thanks to Roosevelt’s Kentucky Pack Horse Library Project, Troublesome’s got its very own traveling librarian, Cussy Mary Carter. Cussy’s not only a book woman, however, she’s also the last of her kind, her skin a shade of blue unlike most anyone else. Not everyone is keen on Cussy’s family or the Library Project, and a Blue is often blamed for any whiff of trouble.

If Cussy wants to bring the joy of books to the hill folks, she’s going to have to confront prejudice as old as the Appalachias and suspicion as deep as the holler.

Inspired by the true blue-skinned people of Kentucky and the brave and dedicated Kentucky Pack Horse library service of the 1930s, The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is a story of raw courage, fierce strength, and one woman’s belief that books can carry us anywhere?even back home.

https://tinyurl.com/y35ms65w

I don’t want to give any spoilers, but this is one book you will remember long after you reach the end. I read a ton of books every year, and this is going on my “keeper” shelf, along with the NEXT book I bought by the same author called GodPretty in the Tobacco Field. Oh, goodness. I then had to just go to Amazon and order the rest of her books. These may ALL be keepers!

I read one of Kat Martin’s older books, Natchez Flame—that one had my heart pounding and wondering how in the world she was going to let Priscilla and Brendan have their happy-ever-after that they so richly deserved! Sigh…Take a look…

A woman of courage and honor. She sold everything she owned to go west and marry a powerful land baron she’d never seen. But Priscilla Wills hadn’t counted on the gunfight—or the gun—fighter—who would change her life: the tall, broad-shouldered man who killed her guardian in self-defense. Reluctantly he agreed to take her through the dangerous Texas back country to her fiancé’s ranch. She hadn’t planned on a journey that would take her into a stranger’s soul as he delivered her into another man’s waiting arms.

A man who lived by the gun. He was an outlaw—yet Brendan Trask unleashed in the prim and proper Priscilla a fiery passion that matched his own. But a man running for his life couldn’t afford a woman who hungered for the security that only her wealthy fiancé could provide.

What’s on the agenda for the next “wonderful read”? I’ve got two I want to re-read—Nobody’s Darling, by Teresa Medeiros, one of my very favorite authors ever—and Star Keeper by Patricia Potter, who is also a dear favorite, as well. I’ve read both of these in the past but it’s been a while and they need to be re-read! LOL Nobody’s Darling is a western historical romance, and Star Keeper takes place during the War of Independence, which is such an interesting time period, as well!

Also waiting for me are Airs Above the Ground by Mary Stewart—it’s been a long time since I read any of her work, and it’s always so wonderful. And last but not least, These Is My Words: The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine, 1881-1901 by Nancy E. Turner.

And…of course, the other books I ordered by Kim Michele Richardson that will be here any day now! I’ve got my reading cut out for me, but I’m looking forward to every single one of these stories. Have you read any wonderful books lately that you’d want to share with us? I’m always on the lookout for “the next good read” and love to talk books! How about you?

THE DEVIL’S IN THE DETAILS–by Cheryl Pierson

 

There’s an old saying that “the devil’s in the details” that’s true in many circumstances in life, but I think it’s especially true in all forms of art.

Of course, it’s obvious to us in visual art—paintings, drawings, photography—and tactile art such as a beautiful quilt or piece of pottery, or a woven basket.Hexagon Quilt–selling for over $6000! But look at the work and the detail that went into this “work of art”!

But what about books? Are you a reader who loves lots of descriptive details? Or do those bog you down and leave you frustrated and impatient?

I have to admit, as I’ve gotten older, there are many kinds of stories that I feel could do with less detail in some areas. A lot of my “changes” come from looking at the way details and descriptions are presented more closely when I read. I’ve evolved into this kind of reader.

As a younger reader, I needed those details to help me create images in my mind. The descriptions were beautiful to me because I knew less of the world, and everything I read was a learning experience! Have you ever thought about it like that?

When I was a YA reader, whether reading sci-fi books (during the flying saucer craze) or historical fiction, I needed those descriptions and details to feed my hunger for learning about—well, everything!I loved this series by John Christopher–read it when I was about 12 or 13, and it stayed with me all through the years so that when my own kids were young, I went searching and found it for them! The descriptions of the aliens that were determined to take over earth, the bravery of the young people that fought against them, and wondering what in the world was going to happen kept me reading far into the night!

“Back in the day” I think authors engaged readers with a different type of writing style, too. Ours had not yet become a world of technology such as it is now. Life “took longer”—and happened at a much more unhurried pace. It was important for writers to create pictures in the readers’ minds—because there was no way to already have a pre-conceived idea of the things the author was trying to describe.

Here’s what I mean: In today’s world, we are inundated with images of all kinds, from instant pictures on our phones that we take ourselves, to movies, to ads on television, to video on Youtube. And so much more—this is just the tip of the iceberg.

One of my very favorite paintings by the very fabulous Jack Sorenson. This one is called “Horse With Christmas Spirit”–love the “details” in this one!

Can you see how this de-values art? When a beautiful picture can be photoshopped together in minutes and seen by millions, or even mass produced in ways that hadn’t been thought of fifty years ago, the artist who painstakingly delivers every brush stroke “the old-fashioned way” can be under-appreciated in a hurry!

Some writers suffer this same twist of fate in a different way. Because our lives are so rushed, and our society has been geared toward “quick reads” we’ve lost the pleasure of savoring those descriptions of the setting, the characters, even the emotions of the “players” in the books we read. It seems that finishing a book is more important than, as we once did, lingering over certain passages and re-reading them for the sheer joy of the way the words came together, the image they created for our hungry minds—and souls.

My confession—and you may all think this is weird—I do not ever skim. Even when I don’t feel the need for the minutiae that may be included, I read every word. What if I miss something? Deep down, I believe the author must have thought it important or he/she wouldn’t have included it!

What’s your pet peeve? Too much description? Not enough? More description needed of the characters? Or do you want some things left to your own imagination?

One does a whole painting for one peach and people think just the opposite – that particular peach is but a detail.

–Pablo Picasso

I learned no detail was too small. It was all about the details.

–Brad Grey

Sometimes when you start losing detail, whether it’s in music or in life, something as small as failing to be polite, you start to lose substance.

–Benny Goodman

Do you remember a book you’ve read that you thought was too detailed? IS there such a thing? I think many of the authors from the earlier days wrote in that style—it was just how it was done—and there was no mass media to show instant pictures, so there was even so much more to learn through reading.

As one who wrote very descriptive passages, James Fenimore Cooper comes to mind, but Diana Gabaldon’s books are full of wonderful descriptions of the landscape, the characters, and so on, and that skill she displays for description makes her stories and characters come to life!

For modern-day books that show a complete mastery of adding wonderful detail and pulling you into the story, there is no better author than Kathleen Eagle. I’ve never read a story by her that I didn’t love and one of the main reasons is the adept talent she has for adding the smallest details as the story moves along and drawing the reader right into each and every scene, as if you are truly there with her characters, experiencing their pain, loss, worry, and love.

Do you have a favorite author who gives just the right amount of description? More about this next time on CHARACTER descriptions–I’ve been doing a lot of thinking on this subject!