I love to read. I read every day -- both the bible and a novel. In the morning I read the bible, and in the evening I read a novel. My tastes range from contemporary novels, to Victorian novels, romances, historical fiction . . . Lately I've read some contemporary Indian fiction: The Invitation, and Miss New India, among others. I enjoy learning about modern-day India through novels. However, I go back again and again to my favorites - Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Charlotte Bronte.
Recently, I read A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar. The title intrigued me, and the book was pretty good, though long on narrative description and short on dialogue. It violated the 'show, don't tell' rule fairly regularly. I did take exception to the negative portrayal of missionaries. There were two story lines, which I enjoy, as my own novel has two story lines. When they intersected I was very surprised at how they met up.
But the king of surprise endings and twists is Jeffrey Archer. He is a master of leading readers in one direction, and then careening off in the opposite direction, with no advance notice. He has written several short stories and many novels. One of the best short story anthologies is A Twist in the Tale. Every single story has a twist that will leave you with your eyes bulging and your mouth hanging open. Trust me. He has a new series out, and I've read the first two books: Only Time Will Tell and The Sins of the Father. The setting is early 20th century England. I can't wait for the third book.
As with many books, it is the plot that makes Jeffrey Archer books so engaging and readable. He does not attempt poetic or lyrical writing, which is another aspect that can make a book 'good.' I've also read some John Grisham lately. His books are very plot-driven. Those few authors who manage to construct a great plot, believable characters, some of whom you love and some of whom you hate, but even the ones you hate you find some redeemable qualities in, and who also write beautifully . . . those are few and far between.
Send me a comment - who are your favorite writers, and why??