RTW: Best Book of January

From YA Highway:

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question to write about on our own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

This week's topicWhat was the best book you read in January?

Oh, January, I was not sad to see you go.  You were a month of false starts and limited time.  I've never before started so many books and tossed them aside when they did not hold my interest - or worse, aggravated me.  Three years ago I would have plodded through, determined to finish.  Three years ago I had never not finished a book I had started.  I felt I owed it to the author.  Three years ago, I finally came to my senses.  My time is precious.  I can't spend it reading books that don't suit me, that won't teach me something or move me, that - well - aggravate me.

I can count on one hand the books I've given up on since February of 2010 (I still remember the FIRST book I quit), but in January, I nearly filled up another hand.  Dreadful.  

On December 31st, I started HOW TO MAKE A BIRD by Martine Murray.  I almost gave up on it.  I wasn't immediately taken in by the story or the main character or the writing style.  One minute I stumbled over pedestrian, clunky sentences and the next I became enamored with lovely, lyrical phrases.

But oh, how I ultimately fell in love with this book. 

I've historically been drawn toward books filled with family drama, growing up, sadness, glimmers of hope - and the idea of home and all that comes with it has always been a thread in my writing.  HOW TO MAKE A BIRD had all of these things and more.

Here's the description from goodreads:
A beautiful novel that captures the aching of a teenager ready to heal.

It's dawn, on an empty road in the countryside. Empty, except for the girl in the long, red evening gown, standing next to a bicycle, and looking back at the home she's about to leave. Mannie's ready to start a new life and forget the terrible things that have happened here, but there are questions that need to be answered before she can let go. Questions about her elegant but unstable mother, her brother who's always overshadowed her, and his friend Harry Jacob, who just might be Mannie's boyfriend.

 And what I wrote when I finished the book:
I almost gave up on this book - a bit of a slow start. I'm so glad I stuck with it - such a beautiful, aching story, lovely language and imagery. My favorite kind of book: family, loss, heartbreak, hope.

WAITING FOR THE SUN, my WIP, is, I hope, a book like this, a book filled with family and loss, heartbreak and hope.  It's currently filled with pedestrian, clunky sentences but some lovely, lyrical ones, too.  I hope I can smooth out the bumpy parts, the parts where the voice isn't quite right or the story lags, because Luci's and Ben's stories, like Mannie's, are begging to be told.  I hope I can tell them in as extraordinary a way that Martine Murray told Mannie's.

This year I want to read more books like HOW TO MAKE A BIRD and so I will continue to fling books aside when they aggravate me or are otherwise not useful to me.  I want to be moved.  I want to be inspired to move others.

Tell me, do you finish every book you start, no matter what?  Do you have quitter's guilt?  What was the best book you read in January?


  1. I'm working on being a better book quitter! I've given up on two in the last few months--one that was really a slog, and another that I might go back to someday, but just wasn't what I wanted to be reading. I always tell my students that life is too short to read a book you don't like (because a lot of them really are one bad experience away from never picking up another book, so I do everything I can to ensure they have good reading experience) but I have a hard time sticking to that myself. But really--with a TBR pile the size of mine, I have no business reading things I don't like!

  2. Sounds like a lovely book. I quit a book if it doesn't hold my interest, but that hasn't happened in a long time. I think in general I've just become pickier about what I read.


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