Here we go; it’s the end of another month. So, what is the best book you read this month? It could be fiction, nonfiction…any genre. What book did you really enjoy? Or, what book made a major impact on you? Please use the comment space to share the title and author and to tell a bit about your book to whet your fellow readers’ appetites.
As usual, I have more than one. My favorite work of fiction this month was Laurie King’s The God of the Hive. This is the ninth of King’s Mary Russell novels, which pick up with Sherlock Holmes after he and Conan Doyle retire. The book was gripping. (It’s the one I finished in a day.) Russell, Holmes, and Holmes’ brother Mycroft are being stalked by a political opponent in the British secret service. This novel is one of the most closely linked stories to its predecessor, The Language of Bees. If you are a lover of mysteries and Sherlock Holmes, you may want to start with The Language of Bees, or better yet, hold off on these two books and start with the very first book in the series, The Beekeeper’s Apprentice. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
My other favorite book is a nonfiction title, Ron Humble’s The Humble Essay: A Brief Introduction to College Composition for Actual Students. This was my son’s freshman introduction to college composition textbook, but he enjoyed it so much I had to read it for myself. It is written in a light, breezy voice that reflects a quirky sense of humor, but the information conveyed is serious stuff.
Although I disagree with his dismissive attitude toward the “high school essay” or “five paragraph essay” (as a former high school English teacher, I can tell you, students have to start somewhere and believe it or not some find even the five paragraph form challenging), I agree with everything else he has to say.
Humble examines the thesis, the thesis statement, the difference between the thesis and the topic. He also explains and advocates for a writing process, which as a professional writer I can guarantee I do not know a published writer who does not have one! He provides practical strategies for developing a main idea, sticking to it, and narrowing focus. And he shares strategies for explaining and defending your ideas with details.
I would recommend this book to any teacher of writing, even to those of high school English, and to students who care about expressing their thoughts and ideas powerfully and effectively.
What was your best book this month? Please respond as a comment.