Friday, July 20, 2018

Fiction Friday (July 20): Words Really Do Matter

"Autobiography of Red" and "Amy's Three Best Things"

So, you know how when you pick up a book, judging it by its cover at first, because, yes, we CAN and DO judge books by their covers, and then flip through the pages and light upon one or two random lines on one random page, and realize that you are going to like, or not like, that book?

Try out these two lines, and see if you know what I mean: 

From "Autobiography of Red," by Anne Carson:

"Her voice drew a circle
around all the years he had spent in this room."

And now, from "Amy's Three Best Things," written by Philippa Pearce and illustrated by Helen Craig (I picked up this book because of its charming cover...see above about covers!):

"And the next day the sun shone, so they all went to the fair."

Now, which of these sentences makes you want to go on and read the rest of the book? Admittedly, the "Amy" book is for children, but I don't think that fact necessitates every dang sentence having the word "and" somewhere in the middle of it, or several times in it. And (yeah, I know, "and") because it's a children's book and it really is a charming story with charming illustrations, I'm not really complaining. Not at all.

But doesn't that other line, "Her voice drew a circle/around all the years he had spent in this room," make you want to read more? Doesn't it make its own picture in your own mind, not on the page, where you don't need it, because it's in your own mind?

Both stories are made up of series of incidents in the main characters' lives, forming a plot arc that is interesting, but words matter.

I would write more about this right now but because words matter and because I'm so sleepy that I'm having trouble with words, this will have to do for now.

(By the way, which book cover for "Autobiography of Red" makes you more interested in buying the book? When I bought it, I chose the one on the left because it was used so it cost me about half the price of the new book. But, price aside, I think I like the one on the left better, anyway.)

Autobiography of RedAutobiography of Red by Carson, Anne (1999) PaperbackAmy's Three Best Things

1 comment:

Jeff Wynn said...

LOL. MY way of finding a good book s to read this blog.

Sometimes I also find something on a shelf at Powell’s Books by the Staff Recommendation handwritten on a card below it.

Handwritten helps because I judge the NOTE in part by the hand writing or lettering on it.