I have always liked to read and continue to read a great deal. Sometimes as I walk, I think of the novel I am reading or one I read a few weeks ago.

I have always liked to read and continue to read a great deal. Sometimes as I walk, I think of the novel I am reading or one I read a few weeks ago.
Recently I read a detective novel where both of the main characters were killed while subduing the crook. What bothered me most was that these two men would have made good series characters.
A recent novel I read was The Year of Pleasures by Elizabeth Berg, The book centers around a woman who recently lost her husband. She and her late husband had always lived in Boston, and they had often talked about moving to a small town in the Midwest. On his deathbed, he made her promise to fulfill their dream.
The story picks up with her driving the “blue highways” west from Boston. Her descriptions were wonderful: “I saw farmhouses in the middle of protective stands of trees, silos reaching for the sky, and barns faded to the soft red of tomato soup.”
“I passed white wooden churches, red brick schools, stores with names familiar only to the locals, and movie theaters offering a single choice.”
“Live photos flashed before me: Here a construction worker was eating a sandwich, one foot up on the bumper of his truck. Here, a woman in curlers was loading groceries into her car. Here, a child glimpsed through a kitchen window, standing on a stool to reach into the cupboard, there a beauty operator was giving an old lady a perm.”
I appreciate authors who can paint pictures with words. It is a talent that some writers never master.
I like to read Zane Grey and Louis L’Amour books. Someone once asked me which one of them I preferred. I told the questioning person that I appreciated both. I added I thought that Louis L’Amour was better at keeping steady, constant action, but that Zane Grey was more descriptive with his scenes.
We have always heard that a picture is worth a thousand words. Still, a good vivid description allows the reader to picture the scene in his/her own mind. Some descriptions are easy such as telling the reader that the unknown substance smelled like frying bacon. Or writing that substance had the same consistency of Jello. Or that the cloth feels smooth as a horse’s nose.
What about describing the blow to a character’s foot when it was stepped on by a horse with new shoes? This is a good description, but what if the reader never had his/her foot stepped on by a horse?
I realize that sometimes I get over enthused with the beauty of the skies in the early morning sky and try to share these sights with the reader. I wonder, though, if everyone goes out and views the skies like I do. Then I think that maybe if they don’t, I can inspire them to do so. The sky can be so very beautiful.
Take a walk, look for good descriptions in whatever you read, watch for pedestrians looking to the sky, use those signal lights, and see what you notice while passing along on Wildcat Boulevard.    
 
 
 Russell Hively writes a weekly column for the Daily News.