I don’t know why, but lately I’ve felt the urge to re-read Empire Falls by Richard Russo. I have three books I’m reading right now, and many others in the queue, but I’m haunted by Empire Falls. I enjoyed the book the first time around, but I wouldn’t have ranked it as one of my all-time favorites, and yet now I’m compelled to read it again. Something new must wait for me within the pages.
I don’t claim to be widely or well-read in the classics, classics-to-be, or even recent best sellers. To be honest, I can’t always tell you how books find their way onto my to-be-read list. Perhaps the booklist fairy adds them according to my previous reads … sort of like Netflix recommending movies to me. Some automatic entries are books by favorite authors … a new Anne Tyler due out the end of this year, YAY! And I do jot down names of books that friends suggest, or I see while reading blogs, or hear mentioned in writers’ groups, but many of these I never finish. Reading tastes are personal. The book has to resonate with me.
I’m not in school, I don’t review books, nor do I have time to waste, so I only read what appeals to me … what speaks to me.
And sometimes a character’s voice echoes back years later, prompting me to restart the dialogue. Among the voices that speak to me most loudly, but in no particular order, are:
- Celie’s in Alice Walker’s The Color Purple
- Scout’s in Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird
- Maggie’s in Anne Tyler’s Breathing Lessons
- Mason’s in Anne Tyler’s The Accidental Tourist
- Ivy’s in Lee Smith’s Fair and Tender Ladies
- Eleanor’s in Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House
- Sayward’s in Conrad Richter’s trilogy, The Trees, The Fields , The Town
- Julie’s in Robert Morgan’s Gap Creek
- Ninah’s in Sheri Reynold’s Rapture of Canaan (and probably Kenny’s in her newest The Sweet In-Between)
NOW … won’t you please share with me your list of books that haunt you? Maybe you’ll help me discover a new favorite.