Monday, October 10, 2011

More Than Gruel?

Over the past 4 or 5 years, books have become my constant companion. Typically, I am reading 2 or 3 at any given time, and regular visitors to this site will recognize that I like to share my personal reviews. Recently, I have been adding more and more works of fiction to my reading
list, including the genres of thriller, adventure, and mystery. These stories spark my imagination as they transport me into other worlds and histories and times. Usually I find an author that I like and then I more or less read through their entire catalog. However, the number of different authors that I have encountered is still quite limited. Those that I have read have come to me by way of chance as I was browsing the shelves of my local library or bookstore or received a recommendation from a random conversation. While I have enjoyed the books that I have spent time with, I sometimes wonder if I am missing out on something.

If you grow up eating gruel at every meal, you develop a taste for it. In fact, over time, you will come to enjoy it and savor it. However, you won't really appreciate that you are eating gruel until you are suddenly faced with a Ruth's Chris filet mignon on your plate. It is only at this moment that you will then look back at the slop that you had been enjoying and wonder to yourself how you could have been so blind to reality. Why were you wasting your time scarfing down pablum when there was a much richer culinary experience out there with much deeper and more complex nuances, textures, and layers?

So, even though I have enjoyed the fiction works that I have selected, I somehow sense in my bones that there is a higher level of artistry out there than what I have come to know. I wonder if I have been blissfully limiting myself to a bland and watery porridge when there is prime steak out there somewhere. So, what can you recommend as reads or authors that demonstrate an uncommon mastery of this form?