So many people are looking for good novels right about now. We need them in summer to take on vacation, or read by the pool, or just because books are always a part of life. Books can be the best vacation your mind can get. And isn’t it beautiful how there are enough different kinds of books and authors in this world so that every reader can find that book that will be just what they need? Writing a book blog is weird because a book I love may be a book you hate, or visa versa. Books speak to people in different ways and connect uniquely. But since readers are always on the quest for the next great book, we go on sharing what we like and helping each other along the way the best we can. Novels -stories, settings, characters, themes – can be so powerful. Today I’m featuring some books by one of my favorite authors. Not everyone will like her books, but I will always read everything she puts out. Here’s why: I vividly remember every point in time that I was reading a book by Marisa de los Santos.
I read Loved Walked In at the desk in my hated cubicle a year after I graduated from college, or on the bench in the park where I went on lunch breaks to escape the office.
Belong To Me was my companion as I sat at my kitchen table eating Honey Nut Cheerios at 3:00 a.m. in the early throes of labor, and then later in a hospital bed as I nursed my newborn son. (That book made me cry buckets, but it could have been because of other stuff going on…)
Falling Together was in my hands at the beach on a cooler September day as I sat on the porch and wished the plot would get better already (hint: this one is not my favorite).
And just two weeks ago, I read The Precious One in the finally silent house after the children’s bedtime, as I curled up on the couch with a hot wash cloth on my face to ease the sinus pressure from a rare case of summer sickness.
This is how I judge an author’s power: if his or her novel intertwines with your life enough to become part of it.
As I read The Precious One last week, I finally got an idea of why de los Santos’s books have that power in my life. She always includes a few characters who are good at forgiveness and loving and being a friend just for the sake of being a friend. The characters are not morally perfect and they don’t have easy lives, but they are good at loving the abandoned daughter or lonely neighbor or friend suffering cancer. These are the tough concepts so often thrown on us in modern fiction, but so gently dealt with in de los Santos’s work and by her characters. Her work helps me think harder about the kind of person I want to be in real life. It’s not the Bible, for sure, but if you’re a lover of fiction, I think you’re always looking for pieces of a book that you carry with you after the book is over to inspire you or make you laugh, to bolster your resolve or keep you grounded. I love finding that kind of book and those kinds of writers, and I get so excited to share them here on the blog. There are many, many wonderful non-fiction books that can be called life changing or earth shattering, but in my own experience, it’s novels with artistry and story that stick in my mind the most.
So tell me, which novels have been so powerful that they became a part of your life as you read them?