I reread a book that I consider a perfect little gem for F2F discussion, last week. Here 'tis:
I read and reviewed News of the World when it was a new release and was amazed by the utter perfection -- not a word out of place, enough information but not too much, plenty of action mixed with tenderness, gorgeous language, great characters. I felt the same when I reread it and found myself highlighting particularly marvelous sentences. I'll tell you what the group thought, in a bit.
The reminder of what a perfect little book News of the World is has me thinking about other perfect little books, lately. I've been dredging my memory to try to remember other titles that I've read in the past and thinking I may need to start a shelf specifically dedicated to the most flawless small masterpieces I can find. Suggestions are welcome. Another one I thought of is Mad Boy by Nick Arvin.
I reviewed Mad Boy, here. It's a fairly short book but it's absolutely brilliant with surprising and well-rounded characters, a marvelous and unusual setting, a clever plot, and phenomenal writing.
As to the F2F meeting, everyone loved News of the World and it turned out to be an excellent discussion book (thank goodness, since it was my recommendation). Knowing what would happen didn't ruin it in any way, so it's a good one for reading repeatedly. We talked about the Captain's history, what it must have been like living as a captive of Native Americans, why the former captive, Johanna, didn't want to leave the Kiowa Indians, why she left her doll at the river, the reason she never tried to return to the Kiowa after her one attempt to run away, why the Captain made his choice in the end (spoiler), the ending, the quality of writing, and what a perfect little book it was. I was not alone in feeling that News of the World was "a gem". For such a short book, it generated a fine discussion and I definitely recommend it as a group selection. I think Mad Boy would be a great discussion book, as well, so I'll probably recommend that in 2019.
Addendum: I just thought of a third book that fits, so I've decided to add to this post:
A Walk in the Sun by Harry Brown is yet another perfect little book that just popped into my head. I reviewed it a little over 2 years ago and it has stuck with me for its impact, its brilliance, and the fact that it packed so much emotion in such a small space.
When I say "perfect little book," I mean a book that is beautifully written, in which you get to know the characters very well, that's well-plotted but short at around 200 pages (give or take about 50). I've decided searching for that kind of read -- short but exceptional -- will be one of my goals in 2019. Anyone have recommendations?
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