On my first read of The Book Thief, the peerless prose stunned me. I wanted to achieve Zusak’s skill, but I didn’t know how. So I began a nightly experiment to see if any techniques would emerge.
Have you ever come across a saying that jumped inside your mind, made itself at home, and informed your thinking from that day forward? This happened to me several years ago when I read a quote by Neil Gaiman that rephrased G. K. Chesterton’s words from decades earlier. It helped me understand the unique strengths of the fantasy genre.
“Bad books are a myth because the only measuring stick is people’s whims.” I ended my first article in this mini series with that provocative and troubling conclusion. But hopefully you followed my reasoning. Since even literary-minded readers occasionally enjoy “bad” books, how can we make any objective assessments?
Have you ever ordered a popular book and eagerly dove into it the day it arrived, only to discover it isn’t as amazing as it’s chalked up to be? It’s riddled with cardboard characters, confusing pacing, and a contrived climax. You can’t fathom why anyone would endorse it.
People often ask me how I manage to be a mother, pastor’s wife, and writer all at once. My answer is that I don’t. I’m human, with only twenty-four hours at my disposal, and I need sleep. Without it, I become a scary zombie mommy!