Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What I'm Reading

I recently finished reading MARCELO IN THE REAL WORLD, and I totally recommend it. It was written by Francisco X. Stork and edited by Cheryl Klein (Arthur A. Levine Books), one of the editors who spoke at our SCBWI fall retreat.

Here's the blub:

"Seventeen-year-old Marcelo Sandoval hears music no one else can hear, part of the autism-like impairment no doctor has been able to identify. Marcelo is tagged with a 'developmental disorder' because of his pervasive interest in God and all things religious and because he does not relate to others as expected. He's always attended a special school where his differences have been protected. But the summer after his junior year, his father demands that Marcelo work in his law firm's mailroom in order to experience 'the real world.' There Marcelo meets Jasmine, a beautiful and surprising coworker, and Wendell, the son of another partner in the firm. Marcelo learns about competition and jealousy, anger and desire. But it's a picture he finds in a file — a picture of a girl with half a face — that truly connects him with the real world: its suffering, its injustice, and what he can do to fight."

I'd assumed I would like the book, but it blew away my expectations. The characters felt like living, breathing people--something we writers strive to accomplish in our own manuscripts. Between these three-dimensional characters and the unique plot, I was hooked, and I found myself thinking about it when I wasn't reading it.

While I don't do official book reviews at my blog, I enjoy sharing some of the titles that excite me. MARCELO IN THE REAL WORLD is definitely one of them.

How about you? Are you reading anything super good right now? Otherwise, have you read anything recently that you'd like to recommend?

I'm going to be mostly unplugged until next week so I can focus on my family for the holiday. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


Bane of Anubis said...

Sounds like an interesting concept -- definitely a bit outside the norm these days.

Travener said...

I haven't read any outstanding fiction lately that I could enthusiastically recommend. Or any outstanding non-fiction, either, now that I think of it. Happy T-giving.

Corey Schwartz said...

Oh, sounds very interesting. Thanks, Dawn.

Tabitha Bird said...

I love to hear about stand out fiction. Thanks for the title. I am reading 'the kiter runner' at the moment. I'll let you know how I like it :)

Lydia Sharp said...

I'm not just reading one, but TWO "super good" books right now.

"A Darkness Forged In Fire: Book One of the Iron Elves" by Chris Evans, a Fantasy (and obviously the start of a series). I'm not usually a fan of Epic Fantasy, but Evans combines it with a strong military element (which I love!). Highly recommended. And I'm definitely getting Book Two as soon as I've finished this one. Book Three will be available in 2010.

"The Last Will of Moira Leahy" by Therese Walsh, Women's Fiction. I've never read anything like this book before. I'm not usually a fan of flashbacks (sounding like a broken record now...hehe), but she formatted it in such a way that it is not distracting and it pushes the story forward, instead of back. That's the important thing. Another one that I highly recommend. This was Walsh's fist novel, and I just recently heard from her that she is working on her second. Eagerly awaiting it.

I'll be writing reviews for both of these in the coming weeks, so keep an eye out for them, either at my blog, The Sharp Angle, or at the review site, The Book Book.

Thanks for this post, Dawn! I think it's important for us, as writers, to be avid readers and get excited about books. It saddens me when I see aspiring authors make comments like, "I don't have time to read right." In the words of Stephen King, "If you don't have time to read, then you don't have time to write." Quite true.

Chelle Sandell said...

I'm reading a couple of category Superromances that friends have sent. Hope you have a great Thanksgiving!

Dawn Simon said...

Thanks for the comments, you guys! I love hearing what other writers are reading and what they recommend. I sometimes pick up books based on bloggy friends' posts or comments. :)

Deb@RGRamblings said...

Sounds like a good read.

I just finished Kathryn Magendie's "Tender Graces" and would definitely recommend it. I don't usually do reviews either but will be doing one on TG.

Happy Thanksgiving!

SWK said...

Interesting to look at this book in conjunction with RULES by Cynthia Lord and Mark Haddon's CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME. These books also deal with autism (THE DOG... in fact, is also in the voice of an autistic narrator). These books invite all readers to consider the larger question of what is "normal" and what guidelines (or life plans) are really required for a fulfilling life. Thanks for recommending this book and I hope your turkey turns out delicious. (BTW, I accidentally added myself as a follower of your blog three times and cannot figure how to delete--I am hopeless with this stuff--sorry!)

Dawn Simon said...

Deb, thanks for the recommendation!

Stasia, I read and enjoyed THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME, but I haven't read RULES yet. I plan to--I heard Cynthia Lord speak about it and she was great. Regarding the bigger questions in these books, I totally agree. While it wasn't at all preachy, I felt like there was wisdom to be gained from MARCELO IN THE REAL WORLD.

Don't worry about the follower thing--I just appreciate you and my other followers following. :)