A Drift of Quills – Books We Love, Earnestly

Whenever we as a group talk about books we love, I pull my favorites out of my stack of recently read. (Check out the whole list on Goodreads!) Sometimes I have a hard time deciding which story to write about, but this time, it was easy.

But before I wax eloquent about a big fish, let me point you toward Robin and Trish, who both have excellent stories to recommend…

Robin Lythgoe

Author of As the Crow Flies

Robin’s Website

I really love chatting with my readers, and in a recent email exchange someone recommended a book for my Flinch-Free Fantasy list: The Dragon and the George, by Gordon R. Dickson.

Hey! I’ve read that!

About a million years ago…

I recall liking it, and the foggy memory tickled my brain until I had to go pick up a copy and read it again. It didn’t disappoint. True, the style is dated and it took a little too long for the real action to start, but what a fun read.

A modern couple is transported into another version of our world. The kicker? Our hero ends up in the body of…

Patricia Reding

Author of Oathtaker

Patricia’s Website

Recently, I read Robin Hobb’s Liveship Traders Trilogy, consisting of Ship of Magic, Mad Ship, and Ship of Destiny. While I wouldn’t say I “love” these books, exactly, there are parts of this series that I very much enjoyed—so much so that I quickly read them one after the next.

I liked the set-up of the Bingtown’s oldest families and I loved the concept of the liveships. As for . . .

Parker Broaddus

Author of  A Hero’s Curse

Parker’s Website…oh wait. You’re already here.

The Hardy Boys series is formulaic and simple, and often plods into the cliche. But it’s fun. And I couldn’t help thinking how well they build their mysteries through the story. While bland, they get the formula right. I just finished a second one in as many weeks, and it was a good study in the structure of the genre. While I may not want to copy The Hardy Boys series when writing my own mystery, there’s value in internalizing the genre, the beats, and the structure on display. You’ve got to know the rules before you break them and I love that the series feels like a set of training wheels for writers. Fun, whimsical, dated training wheels.

But I didn’t come here to talk about The Hardy Boys. I’ve actually been ruminating on a story I just finished that involved an old man and a big fish. I’m talking about Hemingway’s Old Man and the Sea. It’s a fascinating tale that has differing interpretations. Is it the battle to land a big fish, or a parable of simple faith?

For me, it’s a vivid story. One that captures the imagination and the soul. I can feel the heat of the line and taste the salt of the sea. I think Hemingway captured, for us all, the battle to land a big fish.

But then it’s also otherworldly. Foreign. Strange. I think this is where it is a parable of simple faith. And faith can be a strange and otherworldly thing.

Why did the old man go out that far? Why didn’t he take the boy? Why didn’t he let the fish go? Those questions make me think of that simple faith. It makes me think of the way faith makes the disciples scratch their heads as Jesus points to kids as being an example to emulate, or sleeps during a storm, or says a couple of fish will feed a crowd. It doesn’t seem to make sense.

What did Hemingway’s story make you think of? Is it the battle to land a big fish, or a parable of simple faith?


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One Response to A Drift of Quills – Books We Love, Earnestly

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