Happy Tuesday everyone! I hope your week is going great. Otherwise, I hope that it will start looking up in the coming days. It is my fervent hope that it will usher in positive energy, blessings, healing, and forgiveness for everyone. As it is Tuesday, it is also time for a Top 5 Tuesday update. Top 5 Tuesday was originally created by Shanah @ the Bionic Bookworm but is now currently being hosted by Meeghan @ Meeghan Reads.
his week’s topic: Top 5 Books with Keys
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
It was while going through must-read lists that I first came across Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. Back then, I had no idea about literary awards. I also had no notion of contemporary classics. The book, I surmised, fits both categories. I learned that it was the winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction although, back then, I didn’t have an iota of what it was or that it was prestigious. Anyway, I obtained a copy of the book back in 2016 and listed it as part of my 2017 Top 20 Reading List; it was my first time doing such a list.
At first, it was a challenge finding myself through the several layers of the book. I was a bit worried when I learned that the book is about comics, something that didn’t appeal to me. The first part was also complicated as it narrated about World War II and the Golem. Thankfully, Chabon’s clear writing, well-developed characters, and free-flowing narrative made it easier for me to appreciate it. I am glad I stayed with the book for The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay is an arresting and astounding showcase of narrative prowess. It is the right mix of artistry, trickery, and even magic. It is a brilliant story that kept me shuffling through the pages. All the accolades it got it totally deserved. And if you haven’t read it, there is a reason why the title began with the phrase “The Amazing”. Better pick up the book and begin reading it.
The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
My first Erin Morgenstern novel was The Night Circus. I loved how she started the novel. It hyped me up but I was crushed with how the entire narrative just basically fell apart as it approached its climax. I was, to say the least, disappointed so when the news of Morgenstern publishing new work in 2019 reached me, I wrote it off as one of the books I won’t be reading. My conviction not to read The Starless Sea changed after encountering several positive feedback on the book. Besides, I was enchanted by the book’s cover. The Starless Sea dazzles. Morgenstern’s worldbuilding was riveting; the subterranean world she painted was magnificent.
It was easy to get drowned in the flow of beautiful words but then reality sets in. It was an homage to the aesthetics of literature but it lacked everything essential in a good story: a solid plot, character development, and conflict. Morgenstern patched together various elements and tried to weave them into one tapestry but there was neither a story nor a purpose. I nearly gave up on the book. I liked the cover. The story, not that much.
Key of Light by Nora Roberts
Back during my university days, which is to say over a decade ago, my reading appetite involved mainly mainstream romance novels and mystery fiction. It was during this period that I devoured the works of Daniele Steel, Mary Higgins Clark, and Nicholas Sparks. They are among my most read writers. Another writer who was a prominent presence during that period was Nora Roberts; she is currently my fourth most read writer.
One major contributor to the number of books by Roberts that I read was her trilogies. She loves writing in threes! Anyway, one of the trilogies that caught my attention was the Key Trilogy. I was able to start the trilogy with the first book, Key of Light. Unfortunately, our university library doesn’t have a copy of the rest of the trilogy, hence, I stopped at one book. To be honest, I can’t quite recall what the story is about. HAHA. It is just that I find the book cover interesting. Maybe someday I will be able to read the last two books of the trilogy. Or I just might reread the first book before proceeding with the rest of the series.
The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie
While Nora Roberts is my fourth most read writer, Agatha Christie is second on the list topped by Daniele Steele’s 42 books. My interest in the Queen of Suspense’s works started late in my university days. It started with The Murder on the Orient Express, a book I cherish. It also played an important role in renewing my interest in mystery fiction. This experience led to another book, and then another, and then more. Over a decade thence, I have read 30 of her works. Did I also mention that Christie is the bestselling writer of all time?
One of the thirty books by Christie I have read is The Mysterious Affair at Styles. The book features Hercule Poirot, the reclusive and eccentric detective of Christie’s creation. We meet him as he solves the titular mysterious affair at Styles. The action commenced with the death of Emily Inglethorp, the elderly owner of Styles Court. She was poisoned with strychnine. As the story moves forward, the reader can’t help but be engrossed by the suspense that was building up. The reader turns into a sleuth only to be beaten by Poirot’s unorthodox manner of solving mysteries.
The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown
Dan Brown made quite a lot of noise when his novel, The Da Vinci Code, earned the ire of the Catholic Church. Many were up their arms as the book contained details deemed heretical. This was enough to pique my interest. I read the book and found it quite absorbing. I liked the well of information and symbolism the book was brimming with. But it wasn’t enough to convince me that it was a great literary piece. Engaging, yes. Good literary work, maybe not. This, however, did not stop me from reading all his works. I liked the adventures of Robert Langdon and how he tries to solve mysteries within a twenty-four-hour time frame, such as the case with The Lost Symbol.