This past week has been chock-full of reading, and I’ve loved every minute of it. First I finished The Witch of Portobello, another wonderful Paulo Coelho book. I’ve realized that his style is essentially “fable meets self-help book,” and I like it. I don’t think it’s something I’d attempt to emulate within my own style, but imitating it might make a good exercise.
Last week I finished his book The Zahir, which is my favorite of his so far. The characters are very rich and engaging, and their plights are more “normal” than in the other two books. But The Witch of Portobello had a better (twist!) ending, like The Alchemist.
The rest of my reading consisted of excerpts from the 10 finalists for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest.
My favorite, without question, was Bad Things Happen, even though I think the title is terrible and generic. The writing is anything but, and in reading I found myself jealous of Harry Dolan’s command of the English language. I sincerely hope his book comes out soon, so that I may finish the gripping story.
The same is true of my second favorite, The Wet Nurse’s Tale. (Again, not the best title, but at least it’s straightforward.) I absolutely believe that this book, like Dolan’s, should and will be published. And I will buy them both as soon as I can.
The rest of the entries were, for the most part, okay, but in my opinion, not ready to launch. The Prospect of My Arrival was the most original and imaginative in terms of idea, but the execution was lacking. Casting Off, my third favorite, reminded me a great deal of something Nora Roberts would write, so I think its appeal would be limited, but being “limited” to the romance market is hardly anything to be concerned about, since those readers are voracious.
If you’re interested in good up-and-coming books/authors, I highly recommend reading my top 3 faves. And if you’re an aspiring writer just interested in what’s going on in our scene right now, I recommend reading all of them. Maybe even participating in the forums. Just to keep your finger on the pulse, you know?
After reading all the excerpts, I definitely wish I’d entered The Good Daughters, despite its rough form. Ah well, you live an learn, right? Next year, I will enter something for sure. (Assuming there is a next year, anyway.)