• Karissa Chmil

Books with Unique Writing Styles

Writing style, while certainly not the most important part of literature, plays an enormous role in how the book is perceived by the reader.

Some books have bad writing styles. Some have average.

And then there are those that just shine. Where the author’s word playing is a constant amazement and thought-provoking part of reading. Where you can read a sentence and already tell who wrote it because of their unique style.

I love those kinds of books—and, today, it’s my pleasure to provide you with a few of my favorites!

The Book Thief

When Death has a story to tell, you listen. It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still. Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist - books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement.  

Any story related by Death is sure to be unique, and Zusak’s The Book Thief fulfills that promise. Thought-provoking, alluring, and constantly intriguing, the style of The Book Thief will always be remembered.

Island of the Blue Dolphins

In the Pacific, there is an island that looks like a big fish sunning itself in the sea. Around it blue dolphins swim, otters play, and sea birds abound. Karana is the Indian girl who lived alone for years on the Island of the Blue Dolphins. Hers is not only an unusual adventure of survival, but also a tale of natural beauty and personal discovery. 

I love Scott O’Dell’s writing style. In everything of his that I read, it’s there—a simple signature that stands casually on the page, as if saying I’m here, and I’m me. His word choice, rhythm, and structure are captivating, and they fit his stories so very well.

The Screwtape Letters

A masterpiece of satire, this classic has entertained and enlightened readers the world over with its sly and ironic portrayal of human life from the vantage point of Screwtape, a highly placed assistant to "Our Father Below". At once wildly comic, deadly serious, and strikingly original, C. S. Lewis gives us the correspondence of the worldly-wise old devil to his nephew Wormwood, a novice demon in charge of securing the damnation of an ordinary young man. The Screwtape Letters is the most engaging and humorous account of temptation - and triumph over it - ever written.

All of C. S. Lewis’ writings have a unique writing style, but that of The Screwtape Letters is even more so. The unique way of phrasing that comes from the character he portrays is incredibly thought-provoking, and the entire tone is intriguing.

Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic

Ten-year-old Persimmony Smudge lives a boring life on the Island in the Middle of Everything, but she longs for adventure. And she soon gets it when she overhears a life-altering secret and suddenly finds herself in the middle of an amazing journey. It turns out that Mount Majestic, the rising and falling mountain in the center of the island, is not really a mountain - it's the belly of a sleeping giant! It's up to Persimmony and her friend Worvil to convince the island's quarreling inhabitants that a giant is sleeping in their midst and must not be awakened. The question is, will she be able to do it?

Jennifer Trafton’s style is whimsical and beautiful, and Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic is a perfect example of that. It’s not “normal”, and her witty commentary and quirky characters leave you grinning, yet she has mastered the art of beauty and hilarity at the same time.

What authors/books have struck you with their writing style?

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