Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Book Recommendations: Better Than Gold

If there’s one thing readers enjoy, it’s getting recommendations for other good books. I am first and foremost a reader, and other than the occasional browsing of a bookstore shelf for a cover that catches my eye, virtually all of the books in my “to be read” pile have come from recommendations from friends.

Over these past few days I’ve been reflecting on some of the great book recommendations I received from a very dear friend, one who I’m having a hard time accepting is no longer here. We had very similar reading tastes, so I never questioned when she told me “You have to read this book.” In fact, when she told me I had to read Richard North Patterson, I went out and bought all of his books just on the strength of her word. Of course, she was right.

She never steered me wrong when it came to suggesting reading material, but one of her recommendations did much more than provide entertainment. It changed my life as both a reader and, eventually, a writer. It was her insistence that I read Suzanne Brockmann’s series about Navy SEALs. At the time, I didn’t know what a Navy SEAL was, and after I found out I wasn’t all that interested in reading a romance about military guys. It’s a good thing my friend was so persistent. Not only did she open my eyes to a world of amazingly good stories, but I later used Ms. Brockmann’s writing style to study things such as characterization and deep point-of-view.

When my dear friend recommended those books, I’m sure she was only interested in introducing me to yet another wonderful read, but she gave me so much more. She played a part in helping me develop as a writer. Just one in a long line of things in our relationship that I’ll always be grateful for.

Have any books that have been recommended by a friend profoundly touched your life?