The Goldfinch and other books

Writers need to read books. Here are some I’ve read because they won awards.

“…It’s a joke, the Fabritius. It has a joke at its heart. And that’s what all the very greatest masters do. Rembrandt. Velázquez. Late Titian. They make jokes. They amuse themselves. They build up the illusion, the trick—but, step closer? it falls apart into brushstrokes. Abstract, unearthly. A different and much deeper sort of beauty altogether. The thing and yet not the thing.”

I just finished reading The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. It seems to be either a love it or hate it kind of book, based on the Goodreads reviews I’ve seen. I’m glad I read it, because for awhile I was lost in the beauty of the writing. At other points I was pulled out and really interested in the cause-and-effect scenarios Tartt constructed. I rushed to finish the book, which to me took too long, but in the end I was impressed by her skillful development of a wide variety of characters and worlds.

I do try to pick up award-winning adult fiction books now and then, though most take a long time to read. But earlier this year I did enjoy McBride’s The Good Lord Bird. It’s historical fiction and covers the events leading up to the John Brown raid, an event in time rife with what-ifs and could-have-beens. Also, I love going to Harper’s Ferry and am still terrified by the wax museum. I think a lot of people were terrified by John Brown, so it it’s only natural his wax figure scared me so badly.

I guess if I want to write something that will get noticed, I should put a bird in the title? Unfortunately the middle grade novel I’m sending to agents and the one I just finished for NaNoWriMo have nothing to do with birds. Hmmm. Maybe I should think about this.

I can’t end this post about books that win awards without mentioning the first National Book Award winner that I read because it was a National Book Award winner. I still struggle to describe this book, but I can say the characters and the world have lingered with me many years after I finished turning the last page.

Did you read any of these books? Thoughts?