In case you are looking for a Very Good Book.
I have to tell you about a book. It was one of those books that you dig into, despite the fact that you have another (or in my case, a few others) that you are truly enjoying. But you find this particular book detours you from all the others (check 'em below), who must rest there in their forlorn pile until you (unhappily) finish the read that has enchanted you, wishing for more.
There are three books and one author in the last year that held my attention in that way. I told you about one here: Our Souls at Night. (There's a movie now with two of my favorite actors, Redford and Fonda, but I don't think I will watch it just yet. I want to retain the satisfying goodness of the novel.) Another book in the Could Not Put Down category was The Dry, by Australian author, Jane Harper. A juicy story, memorable turns-of-phrase, characters you connect with. A mystery, but not a whodunit in the classic sort of way.
Also falling into that yeah-there's-a-mystery-but category is the latest to go on my all-time favorites list. Despite having read a whole lot of good books, I keep that list to about a dozen or so, adding and subtracting along the way. Matthew Sullivan is the author, who, perhaps not coincidentally, once worked at the Tattered Cover Bookstore in Denver (a fantastic place for book-lovers), is married to a librarian, and teaches writing, literature, and film here in Washington State. Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore is not a typical "cozy bookstore" or mystery whodunit, although I expected it would be. Books, words, and reading are important themes in the two connecting stories this author tells through Lydia, who along the way unearths a buried and violent memory from childhood. The author doesn't reveal this until midway, keeping you wondering what this memory has contributed to her pretty normal, smart, and book-loving adult life. The characters are well-crafted in looks and conversation. And, a requirement for me, there are many places in the book that I had to go back and savor, just for the enjoyment of the wordscape:
Despite his own laconic tendencies, tomas was surprised to find that he had quite a lot to say to this young inmate, especially on the matter of time and its impact on a person's soul as it bent and stretched between one's existence and one's memories.
Every time she turned around, this handsome, soft-spoken man was looking at her, but it felt more like an offering than a stare, as if he were rolling his gaze gently at her feet and asking her to pick it up.
Lyle was responsible for steering the kid into that leapfrog of new authors that expanded his inner life. They were an odd pair: Joey was jumpy and battered like a sad, scared puppy; Lyle was tall and prissy like a sloppy British schoolboy...Watching them opening books before each other's eyes, brushing each other's elbows as they browsed, nodding cerebrally over cups of cooling tea, Lyudia had witnessed an affection that she rarely saw in grown men.
Here are the good books that I was truly enjoying that had to sit awhile while I savored Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore. By the way, Magpie Murders is delicious.