June 19, 2008

BTT: Tastes like Chicken

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Booking Through Thursday

Flavour

Think about your favorite authors, your favorite books . . . what is it about them that makes you love them above all the other authors you’ve read? The stories? The characters? The way they appear to relish the taste of words on the tongue? The way they’re unafraid to show the nitty-gritty of life? How they sweep you off to a new, distant place? What is it about those books and authors that makes them resonate with you in ways that other, perfectly good books and authors do not?

For me it's mostly about the words. I like a clever turn of phrase. I like a sentence that makes me pause. Carol Shields was so good at this. She had a way of writing the simpliest of sentences, no $10 words, in such a way as to say something so true and honest but in a way I've never thought of before. Something that's very difficult to do, actually. How could she take a collection of everyday words and make it into something unique?

Recently, I read The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie and as I said in my review, there was a scene that I thought was brilliant writing. A group of people sat around playing Mah Jongg. The players gossip about the murder, throwing out ideas as they pepper their dialogue with Mah Jongg 'speak'. The looks, the comments are so much like what would happen at anyone's house during Saturday night card game. There was a reality and an ordinariness to it even though the book is a mystery about a baffling crime.

I guess I'm not especially impressed with exotic locations or events. It's the ordinary made extraordinary that impresses me.

10 comments :

  1. I agree-- exotic locations are the easy way to spice up a story. It takes much more talent to write an interesting tale set in your own backyard.

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  2. Ah, yes - Roger Ackroyd is a fun book to read, if a little unlikely. But a lot of Agatha Christie's works do have some brilliant writing. I think she doesn't get enough credit for that.

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  3. "Ordinary made extra ordinary." I totally agree. Great way of putting it!

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  4. That was nicely put. I agree, something ordinary that touches my soul and skill with language are among my favorite characteristics of authors.

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  5. Thanks for reminding of Roger Ackryod. I need to re-read it. One of the best books by Dame Christie!

    Here is my BTT post

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  6. I just finished Richard Price's LUSH LIFE. His turn of phrase made the ordinary extraordinary. His characters leaped off the page and made the story real.

    I guess I want it all.

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  7. I too love Carol Shields!

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  8. I like your answer, especially about the ordinary being made extraordinary. That's always great.

    Mine's up

    cjh

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  9. 3m- She's one of my faves.

    Karen- Thanks for the recommendation.

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