I seem always to be behind the curve—whatever the curve happens to be. Take the latest fashions—please. In another couple of years, when they begin to look possibly wearable to me, they’ll be out of style. Unfortunately, it’s the same with fiction. I just can’t bring myself to read new bestsellers until they’re a couple of years old.
Case in point: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. I avoided this book for more than a year, partly because I often don’t trust book recommendations and also because (I’m ashamed to admit) I’d heard it was long. After my book club decided to read it for its next meeting and my friend Heidi told me that the book “didn’t feel long,” I caved. And, like most things in life that I preemptively dread, it turned out to be wonderful.
Before writing this note, I looked up the book’s reviews. Reading reviews beforehand is a mistake. As soon as I read that a couple of the characters were “cardboard villains,” I wondered why I hadn’t noticed that. I reconsidered recommending the book until I read that All the Light I Cannot See won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize, the 2015 Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction, the Australian National Book Award and many, many other important accolades.
Whatever you do, whenever you have time, read this book. It’s a wonderful story well told. And the next time you hear about a book that many people like, one that friends keep urging upon you, forget that it’s a best seller. Just read it!