“Patience is a key element of success.” – Bill Gates
“Patience is a conquering virtue.” – Geoffrey Chaucer
“Patience is the key to paradise.” – Turkish Proverb
I get it… Patience is important. Patience is noble. Patience is humility.
But when your fingers are itching on the keyboard, when every ding signifying a new email makes you jump, when your mind is whirring and burning with possibilities….
Patience is hard. And distraction is key.
So instead of focusing on the pile of queries, rejections, and submissions, I distract myself. I cook. I exercise. I edit. I read.
I write this blog.
And if any of you are need of some distractions – whether from something in your own life or if you are as desperate for news on my novel as I am – I’ve compiled a list of books, similar to mine in one way or another, to keep your mind busy.
MORALLY AMBIGUOUS COURTROOM DRAMA
- Nineteen Minutes – Jodi Picoult
- One of my favorite elements of Picoult’s writing style is her choice to write from multiple points of view. In what I deem her best novel, we see the fateful shooting from the perspective of 7 characters including the mother who blames herself, the lawyer who claims PTSD and battered person syndrome after severe bullying, and the shooter’s ex-best friend who has some secrets of her own. A case that initially seems black-and-white becomes inundated with shades of gray after the first page.
- My Sister’s Keeper – Jodi Picoult
- Tackling the tough question of family vs. self, Picoult does it again with the perfect mix of courtroom and family drama. Now I always think the book beats the movie, but in this case, I am adamant. DO NOT WATCH THE MOVIE.
- The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
- No one is steeped in secrets and mystery quite like Jay Gatsby. He’s a murderer, a German spy, a bootlegger. Plus, his love interest, Daisy, isn’t exactly upfront with her past either. I won’t ruin the ending for those of you haven’t read it – shame on you by the way – but let’s just say, secrets have a way of catching up with you.
- The After Party – Anton DisClafani
- Set in the 1950s, in the River Oaks area of Houston, Texas (one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in America), DisClafani’s novel tells the story of two best friends, both named Joan and both chronicled in the gossip columns. While one follows the path of what is expected of the socialites of the era, the other goes off the rails. Why you ask? You’ll just have to read to find out.
A LAST-MINUTE TWIST
- Sharp Objects – Gillian Flynn
- In Gone Girl’s lesser known older sister, Flynn’s storytelling continues to speak for itself. Her writing matches the tone of the novel brilliantly, and I can only describe it in one word… creepy. A woman who carves words into her skin, a murderer who pulls the teeth of his/her victims, a mother who has far too much at stake… Everything about it screams deeply unhealthy and fascinating.
- We Were Liars – E Lockhart
- I have a skill of seeing twists before
they happen – maybe it’s the writer in me. But Lockhart’s book was an exception. The less you know about this book, the better. Without a doubt, one of the most well-crafted books I have a read in a long time.
- I have a skill of seeing twists before
Now I have to be honest with you… I actually haven’t read any novels that deal with student/teacher affairs. It doesn’t seem to be a very common topic. I get it. It’s grouped with other hard to understand themes like suicide or polygamy.
But I did some research and found a few that look to be interesting reads. If you read before I do, let me know how they turn out.
Two interesting notes. While researching, it is always a hot English/literature teacher. Why not chemistry? Why not gym?
Also, several of these novels feature the teacher hitting his student lover with a car. This concerns me, and I feel the need to state that no one is killed in my novel. Despite my father’s best attempts to change my mind.
- Bared To You – Sylvia Day
- Think 50 Shades of Grey with more emotional depth and a little less S&M. The relationship between two survivors of sexual assault is steeped with vulnerability, fear, and using sex as an emotional weapon and coping mechanism. You know, the normal traits of every dysfunctional couple.
- Me Before You – Jojo Moyes
- Per above regarding book vs. movie, this is the one where I would actually condone watching the movie instead if you aren’t a reader. The always adorable Lou and the surly yet charming Will face the unbearable consequences of a life-changing accident and being stuck with a future you never wanted.
THEMES OF GRACE & FORGIVENESS
- The Shack – William Paul Young
- While technically characterized as a Christian novel, this book swept the nation regardless of religion or spirituality. The premise: Mack receives a note from God, inviting him back to the place where his daughter was kidnapped and murdered. After a series of events and lots of tearful introspection, Young guides his characters & readers to forgive the one who needs it most: yourself.
- Thirteen Reasons Why – Jay Asher
- In high school, I recommended this book to be added to our required reading. I was ignored (shocker), but I still maintain my recommendation to this day. The premise is simple but haunting: when high school student, Hannah Baker, kills herself, thirteen tapes begin to circulate about her life and, more importantly, her death. Her journey is tough to read but monumentally important, dealing with the snowball effect gossip and bullying can have on your psyche. You can also listen to excerpts from Hannah’s tapes here.
I know what you all are thinking. That doesn’t sound like a book about grace or forgiveness. But there is a reason I included thirteen books on this list. One for each of Hannah’s reasons. Despite her tragic ending, Hannah is full of grace and forgiveness, and I can honestly say that this book is what made me want to be a writer.
On that note, I hope my book will be ready by the time you are done with this list. If not, it will be soon. I’ll be waiting…
So which of these books are you going to read first? Post in the comments below!