You wouldn’t normally associate fangs with Douglas firs and fireplaces draped with Christmas stockings, but I am going to suggest that you get Emily Reese’s debut novel, Second Death, for all your vampire loving friends. Emily has a great knack for writing a story so that you feel you are sitting in the same room, walking down the same street, driving the same car through South Texas as the characters, and boy does the story have a bite!
Today, Emily is sharing her favorite books so you can add those to your shopping list, too. But before we get into her guest blog, here is how to find and order Second Death:
When Lane asked me to chose my three favorite books, I had no clue that my criteria would be. There are some books, (usually series,) that I can read many times, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I would count them as my favorite. As an author, I also recognize how much effort goes in to putting a full-length story together, so counting anything out felt like a betrayal. Therefore, what I decided to do was this: these are three books I love that I am going to make sure my daughter reads. I can’t think of a better recommendation than that.
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
This is one of the few books that made me really angry. Like pacing and ranting before bed to a bewildered husband. The Help also had me wanting to go up to every African American I saw and give them a hug and an apology. Further deliberation made me realize those actions might be seen as condescending, so I decided against it, but still. It is a rare thing for a book to spur me (or almost spur me,) into action. It just blows my mind that my mother and my grandmother were around, in the south during this period. Were they as bad as some of Kathryn Stockett’s characters? I don’t think so. I mean, they raised me to be a tolerant individual. Yet I know that if my mother had brought home a darker skinned gentleman… it would have been Guess-who’s-coming-to-dinner-esque. In all truth, she wouldn’t have brought him home at all. I don’t think it would have occurred to her. This book reminds us that the civil rights movement is still right behind us.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
I love all the Harry Potter books. I mean, LURVE them. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve turned on to this series, and I thank my lucky stars for Derek who worked at the mall bookstore. He bought me the first four books and refused to talk to me again until I had finished them all. I sobbed during this book. I talked to the author like an imaginary friend. I’ve taken (many) days off work for Harry Potter release days and stayed up until 6 am to finish. Here’s the best thing about these books, and why I’m so caught up in them: depth. These books are hella deep, though not necessarily in the metaphysical sense. The characters are deep. You are with them for undoubtedly the seven most important years of their life. You see them grow, and it’s a joy to discover who they’re going to be before they do. It was my first taste of parenthood. The story too is deep. I’ve reread this series over and over because I’m still finding things Rowling hid in book one that I didn’t understand until number seven. I’ve chosen The Deathly Hallows as my favorite book because it was the culmination of ten years of love and I was not disappointed.
The Lamb by Christopher Moore
The Lamb is one of my favorite books because it approaches religion the way I do. It accepts that what we know is from the perspective of the author, and encourages us to learn what we can from it. It implies that Jesus does actually have a sense of humor and found joy in everyday things. It reminds me that he was a person before he had to be the Son of God, something I find sermons to be lacking these days. There is nothing in this book about the “wrong” religion or the “wrong” type of people. Everyone is part of God’s people, and that’s something I can get behind.
That’s my list. This is what Autumn is going to roll her eyes at me about in ten years or so… but she’s still going to read them. Of course, there are many, many more I’d like to include. I also think it’s funny that there are no paranormal romances in my top three, since A) it’s by far my favorite genre and B) its my book’s genre as well. I also want to give a nod to authors who write sequels. I wrote my first book Second Death, before my daughter turned two. I wasn’t as hard as one might think; I’ve always been a night person, and I could write during naps (ah, blessed quiet!) In addition, I’d been rolling this idea around in my head for years. Now, she’s almost three. A few people have read my book and liked it enough to ask me for part two. Um… yeah, about that. My little monkey doesn’t nap so much, and demands much more interaction. Therefore, in closing, I’d like to ask you not to curse authors, (as I did) for not getting their sequels out in a year or less. To me that’s damned impressive.
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