Thursday, January 6, 2011

Oh the Books We Will Read and The Places They Will Take Us!

There are certain books you remember clearly years after you’ve read them.
Books that haunt you. 
You may not remember the names of the characters, or the complete storyline, but you remember the emotion.  You remember the way the story made you feel.
Guy Gavriel Kay, is an author who affects me emotionally with every story he writes. They haunt me for days, weeks even years afterwards. The characters are so real, and the emotions so vivid, I forget they are imaginary.  Sometimes, right after reading his books, in that haze between sleep and waking, I’d lie there in bed thinking the characters were real; that they were friends and I’d lost them.
When I’d become fully awake, I’d still feel their loss.
GGK invests the readers so deeply in his characters that you mourn for them when the book ends.
There is another book I read years ago, that I still remember clearly to this day. The book was called Dust and it was written by Charles R. Pellegrino.  It wasn’t the characters that grabbed me this time. They were pretty wooden, actually. And the dialogue was pretty bad. There was tons of telling and it was thick, I mean absolutely think with back story and science.
All in all, a very slow moving book.
What I remember vividly about Dust, is it scared the shit out of me. The premise was based on a little know scientific fact that every 35 million years or so, all the insects die. Well not all of them. Like 99.9%. Enough anyway, that their disappearance effects everything. The birds and bats all die. The trees and grass and plants all die. Nothing decomposes and slowly, day by day, the world withers.
It was an absolutely chilling look at what would happen, if a mass insect extinction happened within our life time.  Since Earth is within the window for this to happen again, yeah—it was pretty freaking scary. What’s even scarier is that a lot of the things that happened in DUST, are actually happening now—like the bees dying, and the butterflies, and the bats. Every time I hear about another species suddenly disappearing, I think of DUST.
What about the rest of you?
Any books that are still haunting you years later?

16 comments:

Suzanne said...

I love books that stick with me this way! I haven't read GGK but he's on my "to read" list now. Stephen King's "The Stand" stuck with me because of the characters and premise, and a couple of old Susan Howatch epic, Cashelmara and The Wheel of Fortune, because of the characters and the way she shows impact of actions over multiple generations. Great blog!

Trish said...

Hi Suzanne,

Thanks for stopping by. Guy Gavriel Kay is hands down my favorite author. His first series was a fantasy, now he is writing historical fiction. Taking an ancient time period and bringing it alive.

His The Lions of Al-Rassan still haunts me. He crafts these two extraordinary characters,who should have been enemies- but become best friends and brothers in their heart. And then mid-way through the book they are set on a direct collision course with each other. You can see it coming, they see it coming- do everything they can to avoid it. The book is incredibly emotionally compelling.

I've read the stand several times. But I've never tried the two Susan Howatch books you mentioned. I'll have to look them up.

Anonymous said...

The book that haunts me: 'Rage' by Stephen King/ Richard Bachman was twisted,interesting, and just a great read. Then the rug was pulled out from under my feet when the Columbine tragedy occurred. My heart cried out for Stephen King that day. (Rage is the book the students used as a reference for their alter ego and heightened their pre-plan to initiate the tragedy)
Any good author knows fiction is meant to be just that. How horrible that Mr. King became a victim of his own genius.
CINDY S.

Zee Monodee said...

A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth is one that haunts me. It's the book that pushed me on that path to writing. It is set in post-Independence India. The wounds of Partition are still strong, there's this heavy distrust still among Hindus and Muslims, the old world of India and its maharajas is slowly dying as democracy is trying to gain a foothold. A very political historical novel, but totally moving too.

Brenda said...

Stephen King's The Stand and Bag Of Bones.
Jude Deveraux's A Knight In Shining Armor.
And Cindy S I read the story on the Columbine tragedy and it literally haunted me for days after.

CJ said...

Remember the commercial: "It is not nice to fool Mother Nature?", well I have a Sci-Fi book who fits this to a T. Almost the same premises as Dust, but it is set on another planet and all the explorers dies or go away, except one. She gets absorbed by the organism of the planet, but does not know it. She grows and learned. Many, many years later, the explorers come back to find out the answers to all these disappearances and find her as an old woman. Do they learn anything? No, they try to change the ecological planet to suit them. Again the same cycle happened. Over and over, until we learned from the old woman.I do not remember the title or author, but I remember the feeling of this book, that I read over 15 years ago.

Sheri Fredricks said...

A fairly recent book I read that keeps coming back to mind is JR Ward's Lover Mine. The characters were believable and came to life off her pages. It affected me because it was the first vampire type book I'd ever read where biting necks wasn't the main event. The other book that impacted me was, of course, the Bible. :)

Martha Ramirez said...

I don't have one that haunts me--not yet but it's very interersting to hear what you guys have to say:)

Tabitha Blake said...

I think Dean Koontz is the only author that has left me Haunted by his stories. I think the one that really sent chills up my spine was Hideaway.

He was clinically dead after the accident—but was miraculously revived. Now Hatch Harrison and his wife, Lindsey, approach each day with a new appreciation of life…shadowed by his glimpse of death.

Something has come back from the other side. A terrible presence that links Hatch’s mind to a dangerous psychotic. A dark force of murderous rage that hides within us all…

The killer in this story is killing women and making a sculpture out of their bodies. It really stuck with me. The way he got into the evil mind of the killer was chilling. I read this book years ago and I can tell you the name of the book and exactly what it is about. Let me just say I read three books a week so that is saying something to remember this one. I can't tell you what I read a week ago most of the time. Its too much to keep filed away. LOL! Great Blog!

Trish said...

Cindy

I never read RAGE. But I sure heard about if after Columbine. I can't think of anything that would be more horrible for an author. To know that something that sprang from their imagination could be twisted and used to stage such a horrific act.

Trish said...

Zee,

A Suitable Boy sounds like the type of book GGK writes. He takes a historical time period where there is alot of change and conflict and brings it alive. I think those kind of books can end up being very emotionally charged.

Trish said...

Brenda,

Stephen King sure seems to be getting a ton of hits here today. No wonder he is America's favorite story teller.

Trish said...

CJ,

That is exactly the kind of a book this blog was about, the kind that still haunts you 15 years later. Tigana was like that for me with GGK, as well as his Finovar series.

The book you talked about sounds very interesting and comes with a message that is still applicable today.

Trish said...

Mika,

I loved all of the JR WARD books. I just read them last year. Picked the first one up in Febuary and devoured them within a week. LOL

Then had to wait until April for Lover Mine. I can't wait for the next installment. It should be out this spring sometime I think.

Trish said...

Martha,

I'm getting some new titles to add to my book list for 2011. *G

Trish said...

Tabitha,

I remember Hideaway! What a chilling book. It's one of my favorite Koontz book. Although Watchers is still my favorite. It has to be considering that the hero of the novel was a Golden Retriever- Okay, one of the heroes. *G