Sometimes when I interview readers for this blog, I ask: what book do you wish more readers would read?
Today I wish to answer my own question. Not with some thick tome, some bit of philosophy I consider very important. I answer with the title of a moving read too many of you have missed.
News of the World by Paulette Jiles. It is a beautiful read, a tale that scoops one up for a ride that doesn’t stop until the last page is read. Since I wrote about this book previously in a blog post, it became a finalist for the National Book Award. I expect that book clubs will love it.
In this tale of the Old West 10-year-old Johanna, captured by Kiowa raiders at age 6, has lived among them since that time. Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd who is a 70 year old war veteran rescues her and plans to take her to live with relatives near San Antonio. It is to be a long journey. Johanna is frightened, doesn’t remember English and is reluctant to go.
The journey is remarkable for a number of reasons. The characters are absolute standouts whose interactions and learnings along the way will amaze the reader. Joanna manages feats more exciting than Wonder Woman on a comic strip page. The author writes movingly of her characters and of Texas in the late 1870s. It is a timely story told in lovely prose.
It is a must read for history lovers and for those that are willing to see an often maligned landscape in a new light. The characters pack a real whollop. This title was named the top book of 2016 by BookPage. Oh, and it’s expected to become a film starring Tom Hanks. Perfect casting. This one I have to see. I hope you read this book and see the movie when it comes out. It’s a small book, filled with a tight, tense story, but so satisfying. Go on – give it a try!