Sunday, September 20, 2015

Week #3 - Flashback Recommendations

This week we concentrate on the Gentlemen.  I am not centering on one particular book, but a style of writing and story telling that gripped me hard and wouldn't let go. I will, of course, tell you my favorite book in their stack of books that rest on my bookcases.  

The first Gentlemen is Robert Olmstead.  Think Cormac McCarthy but with more poetry and flow in his writing.  Cormac tends to be short and succinct, sometimes too much.  Robert writes in the same vein of depth and despair, but his words are as a burbling brook, flowing over and through your mind.  Beautiful.  My favorite book of his?  Coal Black Horse - where a 14 year old boy must throw on the mantle of manhood and find his father, injured on the Civil War battlefield... and bring him home to his mother.  

The Second author in this pile of books is Raymond Atkins.  Each of his books flow with Southern cadence and flavor.  His characters simply jump off the page and demand to be heard and recognized.  I find myself wincing, laughing, and tearing up while reading his novels.  His people are so alive and interesting and filled with vitality.   My favorite book is Camp Redemption, where the main characters are close to losing their Bible Camp - which is their very way of life - and while dealing with this issue somehow manage to "adopt" quite a few needful folks.  I loved each and every character - even the ones I hated. 

Finally there is Hugh Howey - independent self-publishing sensation.  I still love that I fell upon his books while he was up and coming, so that I can claim I "knew him when".  Hugh has busted loose and done very well for himself.  He is well thought of and quite successful.  He has written multiple books in the last few years and is a force on Amazon, but the Wool series hit me hard and stuck with me.  The circumstances are bizarre and confusing, but not necessarily completely unrealistic - knowing how our political world works.  The characters are alive and filled with small life worries along with the big picture. The first book in the series felled me.  Dragged me in and had me gnashing my teeth to get to the next one.  I have read several other Hugh series and I will admit that this one remains my favorite to this day.