castillo linda

"There are only a handful of books that have haunted me...books that stayed with me in some profound way."

Books are powerful things. They’re thought provoking. They can be transformative. They enlighten the ignorant.

Books make us fall in love. Or elicit hatred. Sometimes they make us cry. They outrage us. Bring joy to our hearts. Sometimes they frighten us.

A day rarely passes when I’m not reading a book, even if—on those crazy busy days—it’s only for a few minutes before bedtime. I love reading and I love being swept away by a great story. There are only a handful of books that have haunted me after I finished. Books that stayed with me in some profound way for days or weeks or even years after I closed the cover.

The Road by Cormac McCarthy is one of the most powerful books I’ve ever read. It’s a post apocalyptic novel about a father and son trying to survive in a bleak and dangerous world. The Road is not an easy read. Quite the contrary. But the journey is worth any emotional toll. It’s a stunningly human story, filled with desperate characters in a savage, dark, and hopeless world. Just when all is lost—and it is—McCarthy brilliantly metes out snippets to remind us of the resilience of the human spirit and the power of the will to live. His prose is stark, but the words are as lyrical and beautiful as a ballad. The Road is a rare and profound book that touched me deeply. I couldn’t stop reading, happily foregoing sleep and, at times, my own writing to get back to the story. After I finished, the characters and the decayed world in which they were trying to survive haunted me for weeks.

The Road was a troubling, wrenching read, but I loved every word. I was honored to receive the gift of another writer’s undeniable talent and so pleased he shared it with us.

Linda Castillo is originally from Ohio where her Amish thrillers featuring Chief of Police Kate Burkholder are set. Castillo has published 30 books and won numerous awards, including a nomination by the International Thriller Writers for Best Hardcover, the Golden Heart, the Daphne du Maurier Award of Excellence, and a nomination for the prestigious Rita.

This “Writers on Reading” essay was originally published in At the Scene” eNews August 2015 as a first-look exclusive to our enewsletter subscribers. For more special content available first to our enewsletter subscribers, sign up here.