Saturday’s Softcover: Book reviews—what we’re reading, old or new

The Perfect Book for Writers

Have you ever read a book or story which you thought was “perfect”? What did it have, to deserve such a label? Some years ago, I read a book that is a prime example of the qualities which make up a “Perfect Book” — and it would only take you about 10 minutes to read it. To my mind, any “Perfect Book” (or story) should include:
An interesting beginning with a good hook
A well-defined sense of place
Well-drawn characters
Intriguing events/happenings rife with tension
The challenge of a “problem” to be solved
A satisfactory resolution to the problem at the end

What does my “Perfect Book” have:

A major character appears in the first sentence—and he is formidable. You will not want to put it down.

The story takes place in a recognizably comfortable common setting which has been clearly visualized for you.

Characters are, indeed, well-drawn—with great personalities.

That major character, a stranger in town, creates havoc and terror in Our Town.

One “townsperson” confronts the danger and discovers a misunderstanding.

With safety for all assured, the town settles back into comfortable routine: problem solved . . . well, for all but one slippery group of “citizens.” You have the requisite “satisfactory” ending.

Does the story you are writing—or dream of writing—fare as well? This story even has an added plus, not necessary in all stories, but a real bonus when you can find it: it contains delightful humor throughout, without watering down the tension. Want to read it? Check your friendly neighborhood bookstore or library to find Why the Banana Split, by Rick Walton, beloved Utah writer of wonderful children’s stories. Take a copy home to your kids or grand-kids. They’ll love you for it. And you won’t mind reading it over, and over, and over and . . .

See you day-after-tomorrow for Monday Moans

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