Brown and Niffenegger

     I've read two books lately- Dan Brown's "The Lost Symbol" and Audrey Niffenegger's "Her Fearful Symmetry". When I read books now, I really try hard to read from an author's perspective- looking for things like, what makes this book good? Why am I interested?

    Those two books I just read are so different. Dan Brown is great because he just has so much interesting and exciting stuff going on. His pacing is perfect, his timing intruiging, and he's got great one-liners. Sometimes I disagree with what he has to say, but since it's just a novel, I don't feel the need to get my panties in a twist over it.
     Audrey Niffenegger is so different. I loved "The Time Traveller'sWife". It was heart-wrenchingly sad and for some reason I like stories like that. They resonate with me. "Her Fearful Symmetry" was different. It started slow, and yet I kept reading. I wondered why. What was making me flip the pages into the late hours of the night? The entire first part of the book was basically back story- something that an author is NEVER supposed to do. And yet it worked. I wasn't bored. I didn't find excuses to do anything other than read. So why did I like it? Why was it good?

     I think the main thing is her characters. They are always very well done. You care about them, you identify with them, even when they are almost un-identifiable. Like Henry the time-traveller. Or Claire- his wife. Or in this book, the twins- Julia and Valentina. And Martin- their OCD neighbour. I've obviously never been a twin. And even though I've joked that I have OCD before (something I will never do again after reading that book), I don't even close to suffering from that disorder. But yet I felt the characters, I found them interesting and complex in their differences from me, and I understood them. That is something for sure.
    I have to say I was a little disappoinetd wth the ending. Although I could see what was coming with Valentina, I still wasn't happy with it. Maybe because in this case I wanted this happy ending and I didn't get it. Sure, things were wrapped up mostly (I'm still wondering about Robert), but I was left wanting. And thinking. And that in itself shows that she's a good author. That she captured me and led me into her world and I'm not quite ready to leave it, even though I'm done the book.
     Anyway, I'm left feeling... ? I not only finished that book today but I finished another edit on my own. So now I feel sort of like I'm missing something, sort of hopeful and sad at the same time, and ready to head to the library for something new to read so I can get lost in another world.