Friday, May 13, 2011

Two Great Novels for Writers (and Readers)

In her Monday blog, Lisa Faye Harman asked how we writers can find the right words so our language will have power. That's a great lead-in for my blog today, and a question with many inspiring replies. But I'll give just one.

My reply echoes the first reply of many others, I'm sure: read reAD READ excellent writing by others! And jot down the impressive words and word combinations we read (and hear)! Even if we never review the list, just making the list makes the words more available for our own use.

I'm eager to recommend today two great novels I've recently enjoyed that fit the "excellent writing" category.

PEARL OF CHINA by Anchee Min
THE HELP by Katherine Stockett

In Min's novel, Pearl is Pearl Buck. And of course, with my China heritage, I've read nearly everything by and about Pearl (as well, my family knew the Bucks and Sydenstrickers in China). So I can vouch for the PEARL OF CHINA's historical accuracy. Plus, it's a wonderful, fascinating story and excellently written. The additional attraction for us writers is that one of the main characters is an internationally famous author, so reading her story is extra interesting. (YEP! I overused "is" in that sentence, alas.) The novel handles well her loss of evangelical Christian faith. While a huge disappointment to us Christian writers, it's true and it happens. Perhaps Pearl Buck can serve as a caution to the rest of us.

I'm guessing most of you have read or at least been told to read THE HELP. Every accolade it's earned is deserved, including two years now on best-seller lists. WOW! What novel, what a story, what excellent writing! And just like in PEARL OF CHINA, one of the main characters is an author, whose kindness, perseverance, courage, and orginality can inspire all of us.

If you've already read either of these novels, how about a comment?! :-)

Closing thought in honor of KJV's 400th anniversary last week: "For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace." (I Cor. 14:33 KJV)

Word blessings,
Millie Samuelson


  1. Must have had a special at Walmart on "is"! Is is what it is, isn't it? Or is it?
    Otherwise, your writing is authentic, is accurate, is entertaining, and tells it like it is! Thanks for sharing, friend! BDOP

  2. Blogger has been having issues for 2 days. Sorry the post didn't get up until late today.

  3. Looking forward to a discussion of The Help (will you be there?). I enjoyed it very much...until the end. It was too neatly tied up; I don't think things would have worked out so nicely for everyone. But you are right, excellent and compelling writing.

    Meredith N

  4. I'm probably odd, but I began reading The Help and thought I'd finally found a novel that I just absolutely loved. The language was so unique and fun. However! after about a third of the way into the book, the language began to irritate me, and I took out the book mark and put it aside never to return again.

  5. I loved THE HELP. Excellent read. I read it in about two sittings. And that's saying something because I find it very difficult to read secular fiction anymore.

  6. OOPS! I was just re-reading my post and your comments (thanks all!), and I see I left out an "a" in the 3rd to last para -- What A novel! I hope your "closure" filled it in! :-)