I just finished reading Docket No. 76, one of the books I reviewed this week, and I started reading a review copy of Keith Raffel's upcoming thriller. Suddenly I had an epiphany! What makes a book a winner for me is the way an author presents his characters. I know within the first few chapters whether I will like a book, dislike a book or love it enough to forgo food and sleep. A good plot is important for me to continue on in a book. Smooth flowing dialogue is something I look for when I read. It is the way an author builds his characters however that brings it all home. If I want to invite them to Sunday brunch or have a good old fashioned debate with them, I am sold. If I miss them terribly the minute I finish the last page, the author has a winner. That is why series are so popular and why authors who can successfully keep them going will never want for readers.
When we think back on books we read as kids, it was the series that kept us intrigued. The antics of the Bobbsey twins, the mystery solving of the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew. Come on girls...who didn't want to bop around with Nancy and boyfriend Ned in her blue roadster? I think it was Cherry Ames Student Nurse who made me want to go to nursing school. Waiting for the next book in those series to come out was something we were all programmed to do. Naturally as we became adults we still wanted relationships with characters, not just one night (book) stands. Thankfully some authors realize that, and we get to enjoy romp after romp with Jack Reacher, Lincoln Rhyme, Andy Carpenter, Harry Bosch and the like. I am also happy to report that some of today's top authors are introducing series for young people. John Grisham, James Patterson and Harlan Coben, to name a few, have today's youth anxiously awaiting the next installment in their favorite characters' adventures.
Speaking of next installments, I always find summer a great time to start a new adventure. As a teacher, summers were a time for me to reflect on the previous year and anticipate the next one. June always marked the time for a new beginning. I am no longer teaching, but I still think of summer as the perfect time to try something new. Arthur will be the beneficiary of some interesting looking new recipes, like chickpea, feta and barley salad. Yesterday's quinoa, mushroom and kale burger was yummy. Going for healthy and delicious this summer. A new venture into yoga seems right for me too. I have been threatening it for years...time to get off the stick and on to the mat. Lastly, of course, are new books. I have decided to try to read two new authors a month. We get so caught up in our favorites, sometimes we don't get around to the new authors. This will be my summer to get out of that rut.
So if any of you have any book or recipe ideas that you love, please send them to me. If you click on the contact section of madderlyreview.com, you will find a place to send in comments. I would love to hear from you. Please tell me what is new in your life this summer.