Truly Great Books
We asked several authors and literary agents about the last truly great book they read. Take a look, and then share your own last great read in the comments!
Pam van Hylckama Vlieg, Agent, Foreword Literary:
“I read a lot of truly great books. I read classics as well as contemporary novels that have been published. I even read some slush that is truly great. The question asks me to talk about the last truly great book I’ve read. That answer is easy, The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey. Yancey paints a world that is devastated. He somehow leaves the character and the reader hope. There were many chapters where I had to stop reading because I was crying, or I needed to think more about what I had just read. This book was entertaining, heart-stopping, and fast-paced, but inside these pages it also held a love letter to the human condition. This is THE young adult book of 2013, and I am so glad it lives up to the hype.”
Lisa Lutz, author of six novels in The Spellman Books series and the stylish crime novel Heads You Lose, co-authored with David Hayward. She is also the author of the children’s book How to Negotiate Everything, illustrated by Jaime Temairik.
“In literature there seems to be a drought in great comedic fiction. Readers will often misname lighter fare as comedy, when it’s just light. But true comedy is always about something. Maria Semple’s Where’d You Go, Bernadette was my favorite book of last year. Compelling, surprising, but also really, really funny. I remember forcing myself to read it as slowly as possible because I knew I wouldn’t pick up a book like that for a long while.”
Lauren E. MacLeod, Agent, The Strothman Agency:
“Hands down the best book I’ve read in the last year was Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta. This book won the Printz in 2009, but I didn’t read it until HarperCollins put the ebook on sale a few months ago. The book is weird– it basically doesn’t make sense for 100+ pages. I’m grateful that when I talked about reading it on twitter everyone told me to stick with it! I was very skeptical at first, but then all of a sudden it clicks and you cannot put it down. And I was just destroyed when I finished it– the book is so beautiful and moving. Jellicoe Road is the sort of book you want everyone you have ever met to drop everything and read right away.”
“The greatest book I’ve read in a while is The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. It takes a skilled pen and a brilliant writer to take something so horrifying–children forced to fight to the death on live television–and turn it into something full of beauty and hope. I’ve been in absolute awe of Suzanne ever since.”
“Well before I started writing, I was a reader. Often I read about 200 books a year. Since I started writing, I don’t get to read near as much. But when I find a book I love I still drop everything so the story can sweep me along. The most recent book to make me shut out the world and just lose myself in the pages was Criminal Enterprise by Owen Laukkanen. If you want a book that keeps you on the edge of your seat, Criminal Enterprise totally delivers. And if you really want a treat, go back and read the first book in the series…The Professionals. I did.”
What’s the last great book you read?
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