All It Takes Is One Book

I just finished The Book Thief (a fantastic book, one I’ll treasure forever, thank you so much for the recommendation Raya, please get your hands on it if you haven’t already read it, review to come) and I noticed something. My love for the book is separate from my love for the author.  Sometimes, I don’t make that distinction. Most of the time, I end up being a fan of an author because of a large body of their work. Think Tamora Pierce or Robin Hobb. It’s not the first book – even though that’s what sucks you in – but the series as a whole that I fall in love with. And even if an author writes stand-alones, it usually takes more than a book or two for me to start declaring my undying love for them.

In the case of a very few authors, though – all it takes is one book. And I can usually tell by the tenth page or so when I’ve found them. And, more often than not, it has very little to do with what they’re writing about. It’s how they write – you can TELL they’re pouring their soul into their writing – they don’t hold back. They bleed words and you treasure their books more because of it. Maybe this is why books can make me cry like nothing else can, I don’t know, but I get really choked up over things I think are beautiful, okay? And the way some of these people write? It makes you just want to drown in the words and never, ever stop reading them because real life just pales in comparison to the depth of the worlds they create.

So here you go. Here’s a list of authors that drive me insane with how beautiful their writing is.

Neil Gaiman

This will come as no surprise to anybody who knows me, and I couldn’t in good conscience make this list without him being at the very top. This man needs no introduction, and whether you’re a fan of his work or not (which I’ll find a little hard to believe, but okay), you cannot deny the fact that he just knows how to find the right words. His writing has a life of its own, and every time I pick up one of his books, I’m often left speechless and shaking my head in wonder. You cannot put him in a box – every book is different from the other and you almost never know what to expect.

My favourites: Sandman (review here), The Graveyard Book (review here)

Markus Zusak

I’ve only ever read The Book Thief and honestly? Two pages in, and I was in love. Fans of the book will know what I’m talking about, and if you haven’t read it already, PLEASE go out and get it. Trust me on this. It’s beautiful and heartbreaking and a lot of it has to do with the way Zusak writes. He’ll make you cry and ache to just reach into the book and hug all his characters – to protect them from everything you know is about to happen.

Susan Ee

Ever since I read Susan Ee’s debut, Angelfall (having found a review on The Novelettes’ Blog), my expectations of the entire YA Fantasy genre have gone up hundred-fold. Angelfall was such a surprise – a refreshing take on the done-to-death angel theme with a sensible female protagonist who had her priorities straight. And I think a lot of my respect for Susan Ee stems from that. Her writing seems effortless and everything that happens in the book is so natural. Not once did I have to exclaim, “Seriously?” – which I’ll admit, I do a lot. My point being, in Fantasy, a lot of authors create settings and then sometimes their characters do things that don’t make any sense in that setting. And that ruins everything else for me. Not with Angelfall. This one was easily one of my favourite discoveries of the year.

Melina Marchetta

onthejellicoeroadcoverOh, man. How do I talk about Marchetta without sounding like I worship her?

I discovered Marchetta through Raya’s review of Saving Francesca, and that book just messed me up. It was so good. I then went and devoured Jellicoe Road and Finnikin of the Rock and I fully intend to read everything she’s ever written. Ever. She’s so lyrical and she has a way of making you oscillate between emotions without giving you any choice in the matter. One second you’re crying your eyes out and the next you’re clutching your stomach, laughing hysterically.

She’s a wordbird. There’s no other way I can describe it.

Brandon Sanderson

Here’s my story: I got Mistborn. Page 1. “Ash fell from the sky.” That is all. The end.

Helps that he creates fantastic characters, though. And his world-building? Don’t get me started.

Frances Hardinge

Frances Hardinge is an author I can gush about for HOURS. She’s terribly underrated, and trust me when I tell you I’m doing everything in my power to change that. When you need an instant pick-me-up? Read Frances Hardinge. When you need an author that appreciates the power and beauty of the written word? Read Frances Hardinge. When you need an author that can cleverly weave a story about twenty different things without you even noticing what it is she’s doing? Read Frances Hardinge. When you want weird and witty and an author that takes insane creative liberties and makes it work so that it feels completely normal? Yep. Frances Hardinge.

(Twilight Robbery reviewed here)

Jonathan Safran Foer

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close was one of those books I read as a kid that defined me at the time. I read it when I was 13 or 14, I think, and I’ve read it more than ten times since. Extremely Loud is like my personal Lion King in book form. Oskar’s equation with his dad reminds me so much of Simba and Mufasa, and they’re both childhood treasures I keep locked up inside of me.

And there you have it. Are your favourite authors on my list? Do you have authors that make you feel the same way? Recommendations? Let me know!

Jellicoe Road – Melina Marchetta

Oh my god, this woman.

I’ve been walking around like a zombie the entire day, trying to find the words that will do justice to how I feel about Melina Marchetta‘s (On the) Jellicoe Road, and I’m still unable to wrap my head around what this book did to me. I want to gush and use words like beautiful and poignant and heart-wrenching, but they don’t even come close to describing the depth of emotions I’m drowning in right now.

You know how there are books you want to keep a closely guarded secret because you know – you just know – it would kill a part of you if somebody didn’t appreciate it as much? And then there are those books that restore your faith in humanity and are so real and honest that you want to cry because such a thing exists and you’re frustrated that it took you so long to find it and you’re just downright giddy with happiness because reading them does something to you and you suddenly want to make changes in your life because you haven’t been living the way you always dreamed you would and you want to share it with the world so that they can feel the same way?

That’s what Jellicoe Road is – a gift to the world. I’m not talking about its literary merit here, although Marchetta’s writing by itself is astounding. I’m talking about it being a tiny voice contained in these 300 pages telling you to be the kind of person you’ve always wished you were. That little voice that gets lost in our constant rush to get somewhere. We have moments – I know I do – when we just take a step back from whatever we’re “supposed” to be doing at the time and ask ourselves just where the hell we’re going with our lives. And then it’s gone. It’s back to finishing assignments, studying for exams, working.

Not living.

You know what I want to do?

I want to write this book on my walls. I want to stare at it everyday and remind myself of what is important to me. I want to wake up to Marchetta’s unbelievable ability to say exactly what I wish I could say to myself sometimes, and to say it in a way that is just.. right. Wake up to her ability to create characters that make me howl with laughter and sob hysterically in equal measures. I want to read every book she’s ever written and carry them with me everywhere I go, because just knowing they are there for me, should I need them, is comforting.

I want to change the summary of this book on Goodreads, because it doesn’t come close to even being in the same continent of what this book is about.

I want to praise Melina Marchetta to the skies for creating secondary characters that aren’t just accessories, but are as vividly alive as the main ones. I want to point at Taylor Markham and tell whoever is willing to listen, “THAT. That is how you create female YA characters.” I desperately want to be able to stay separate from all the Jonah Griggs-love that is floating around on Tumblr (I’m failing miserably).

I want to flood this review with quotes from the book, just to show you how lyrical and soul-shattering her writing is, but I really really think I’d be taking something away from you if I did. Her words deserve to be consumed with full knowledge of all that came before it because only then will it resonate as strongly as it should.

I want to buy a thousand copies of this book and go up to every human being I know and thrust this at them with the hugest smile on my face and say :

Yetisays

And most importantly, I want to thank Raya with everything I’ve got for introducing me to such a wonderful author.