I just started reading Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. It’s one of those books that, as a reader, you simply can’t put down, but, as a writer, you feel you can never come up with anything that comes close to comparing with such brilliant prose, vivid characters, sly wit and charged emotions.
I felt the same way about The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander and Rebecca Gablé’s first historical (German) novel. Sometimes, a book just grabs you and won’t let go for a long time after finishing it.
My greatest wish as a writer is that, someday, one of my stories will inspire such a reaction in a reader.