Wednesday, February 17, 2010

I Loved This Book!

Just finished a book, “Velva Jean Learns to Drive,” by Jennifer Niven. I loved this book! At first I thought it was a humorous novel—the title is the reason I picked it up. A glance at the back cover dispelled that notion but didn’t put me off; I’m always up for a good 1930s Appalachian Mountains story that begins, “I was ten years old when I was saved for the first time. Even though Jesus himself never had much to do with religion before he was twelve, I had prayed and prayed to be saved so that I wouldn’t go to hell.”

Some books are very put-downable. Not this one. The author creates a wonderful main character, an entire town, a world, and I was wrapped up in it. When the book ended I looked up the author to see what else she’s written. Sadly, no other fiction, although she is writing a sequel—but she’s written a few non-fiction books about female adventurers. I’ll try those even though I’m not a fan of true stories. (Reading them or telling them, right?)

I don’t know how to categorize the novel; it’s not a thriller, not a murder mystery, not a romance, not literary genius of the sort I find incomprehensible. It doesn’t fit in any category I can define. For those of you who’ve asked me what kind of book I like best, this is it—a great story.

So, what’s your favorite story? What book grabbed you and didn’t let you go, kept you thinking about that world long after you put the book away and started another? Do you have a “Velva Jean” in your fave list?


  1. The Kite Runner was an outstanding story...but I never recommend it to anyone because it left me terribly depressed for several days afterward. Right now I'm reading the Percy Jackson series with my teenage daughter -- the writing's not great but the story is fabulous (if that even makes sense).

  2. Missy--it makes perfect sense. There's story, and there's writing. Two different things. It's a wonderful thing when both are outstanding, but as much as I love good writing, I'll take okay writing if there's a good story. But if there's no story, I'm going to get bored and quit reading.

  3. Did you ever read "Angel Unaware" by Dale Evans? As a ten year old girl, this was my first book outside of non-fiction music books and scholarly Lutheran School books, that truly touched my soul. In retrospect, I also read "Atlas Shrugged" the following year and was impressed. Tells you where my mind was in those early 60s!
    "In Cold Blood", "Blood and Money", and "Down On Ponce" (by Atlanta native Fred Willard) are some of my "true crime" favorites.
    Truth is stranger than fiction and my current life is proof! Funny, though, I try to use reading as an "escape"!

  4. Ann--I read In Cold Blood years ago. Actually I do like true crime--bloodthirsty, I guess! I'll have to try the others you mentioned. Thanks!

  5. To the risk of repeating myself, the Harry Potter series grabbed me one summer and didn't let go. I just loved those kids! I didn't bring the books to work with me 'cause I know I would just hide and read in secret.