Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Used Books: Help Me Find a Good Fiction Novel

Yesterday I went scouting for a new book to read. Being that I have an education from New Orleans, Louisiana & I never read a single book in highschool...that is except Stephen King's The Needful Things (by force of it being my X-mas present from my skater boyfriend) - I haven't a clue where to begin looking for a fiction novel. I walked into the Used Book Store downtown Asheville on Lexington Ave., and I knew as soon as I walked in I was in a sea of possibilities and confusion. I felt like I was going cross eyed, having anxiety, and knew the Rico Sauve hipster boy behind the counter was not going to be helpful since he was busy flirting with a punk girl. I have read somewhere between 100-200 books on health, healing, Buddhism, all things spiritual, and before that phase I unfortunately read a shit ton of true crime books by Anne Rule, horror & true stories.
I know what I want to read now, and maybe ya'll can help me find it: I want a fiction novel that is not violent, nor about war- it can not contain a depressing heart sinking ending. I am hoping for a story where someones life changes, preferably a female character, and the ending is like actually good! (It can start out a little tragic kinda like the Goya drawing pictured here, and than go uphill from there). I read the whole Golden Compass series and loved it till the very end which just made me so upset and heart broken I didn't want to read another novel for like 6 months. (Extreme, I know! Content is so important though, especially the ending.)
I told every customer in the used book store's fiction aisle this same plight for uplifting fiction as stated above, at first I think they were weirded out by the fact that I knew no authors and hadn't a clue (and was actually speaking to them), but once I announced which State I had gotten my education everyone was scrambling to help get some classics in my hand, like The Great Gatsby. I sensed their horror at my deprivation from "great works of literature". So I made sure to announce "No Gone With The Wind either", to which everyone shook their head like 'no way of course'!

Does anyone else have some suggestions of good happy ending fiction novels?
PS-Used books are everywhere & are more eco friendly! When you are done with them, donate to your local library or a book swap :)


Anonymous said...

leslie, I will give your book dilemma some thought...I am not only a lover of books but by profession a high school english teacher, so you would think I could help you out. Right off the top of my head, speaking of classics...East of Eden. Yes there is heartbreak but also a testimony to the tenacity of the human spirit and redemption. i will peruse my shelves this evening and see what I can come up with.

Anonymous said...

Try anything by Barbara Kingsolver. My favourite is The Prodigal Summer, but they are all good. And she's just come out with a non-fiction book about her own experiences trying to grow her own food on her small farm. If you were closer, I would lend it to you!

The Oko Box said...

oh my gawd! I JUST picked that book up yesterday at the used bookstore and started reading it...amazing. I suppose that's a good start then :) - thanks so much for confirming my choice! lol

Anonymous said...

Funny that after reading perhaps 1000s of books, I am having a hard time thinking of any. By the way I used to read Anne Rule, as well as Anne Rice and every stephen king I could get my hands on...still a king fan. I find that more and more of my friends are male and they have been giving me their recommendations, which tend to be dark, fantasy horror. I've read and have been slightly amused but after reading the masters, not sure about them. finding novels with happy endings and without violence is a bit difficult especially among modern literature. Right off the top of my head, I am going to point to some classics...I have also included a couple of contempo novels that I liked. (Bear with me, the teacher is kicking in)

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte - a mid-nineteenth century novel; considered one of the first feminist novels. Main character has a secret past that is revealed as story unravels. Story of sacrifice, redemption (seems to be a theme I am drawn to), defiance of Victorian mores....

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte - this happens to be Megan's all time favorite. Strong female character; again a slam to Victorian values.

One of my all time favorites is To Kill a Mockingbird. Great movie but the book is better and there is more to the story that the movie reveals. Just a nice feel good story.

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson - actually written for young adults but I really like this book. The story is told from the point of view of a young teen; the narrative addresses some dark issues but in a sarcastic humorous way. I made my 8th graders read it this year.

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold - another modern novel. This one knocked my out. One of those books that I really had to think about for several days, and the premise was original. I won't give away the plot but it is told from the point of view of a young girl who had been murdered. It is a story of dealing with death and how the living survive. Actually it is probably more about the girl coming to terms with her own death and learning to let go of the earth. I understand that a film version is in the works.

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet - novel's setting is 12th century england...it is kind of an epic novel spanning over many years and delves with royalty, the Church, witches, stone masons, love, sex, intrigue, etc....That about covers it, LOL!