The other day someone asked me about my favorite books. So I tried to think of a top 5. And when I looked at what I had come up with, I couldn't believe how different they all were. To look at them, you'd think I have absolutely no genre preference at all.
It, by Stephen King
Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith
The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, by Mark Haddon
Close runners-up would probably include The Pact (Jodi Picoult), The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas), The Dogs of Babel (Carolyn Parkhurst), and The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini).
See what I mean?
But then I thought about it, and I realized that every one of these stories I love, for the most part, because it tells a fascinating story. I care about the characters. I want to hang out with the characters. I feel for them, cry with them, cheer for them. And I'm sad when the story's over. Ayn Rand I also like because of her views on the individual-vs-society. And Sebold, Picoult, and Parkhurst do some beautiful things with language.
King, of course, rocks as one of the best story-tellers of all time. Plus his book On Writing is brilliant too.
But back to the story. That, I guess, is everything. Of course.