Thursday, December 17, 2015

Top Reads of 2015

Some people have an instinct for storytelling. They are able to take all the disparate parts - plot, structure, setting, character - and weave them into a tale so fascinating, so heartfelt, so exciting that you not only can't see the seams, but don't even think to look for them. And these are the stories that reach out from the page, grab hold, and don't let go. In some strange, indefinable way, these stories become part of you. In short, some people can bring whole worlds to life with only the written word.

I'm not one of them.

Getting a story to come together into something cohesive, something that flows - something that fits all those separate elements into something greater than than the sum of their parts - is a real struggle for me. It feels like juggling a thousand balls in the air at once, and I never was any good at juggling.

And when you count the pressures that seem to go along with being a writer in this current day and age, it becomes infinitely harder. Not only must one be an excellent writer, but also editor, agent, publisher, promotional wiz, and advertising department. It's a lot to expect from one person, especially for those who, like me, aren't sure they have what it takes to begin with.

All this to say that I've done very little writing this past year. But I have been reading a lot this year, and I've had the (rare) privilege of encountering several books in 2015 that reached out and grabbed hold of me - the kind of story that left me dizzy and dazed, that I want to read again as soon as I turned the final page.

And they've made me realize that is why - despite my doubts - I want to write. Not for fame or fortune, but for the hope that someday I will write something that will reach out and grab an unsuspecting reader, leave them dizzy and dazed, and become part of them. After all, what better way to repay the writers whose stories I love than to pay it forward and write something that someone else will love?

Without further rambling, I present my top reads for 2015: