I've started reading Gilead and I can only describe it as a wondrous book. I can hear John Ames' voice as I'm reading (and for some reason it sounds like Earl Hamner, who narrated the Waltons, but I attribute that to watching too much TV as a child). I'm a preacher's kid and so much in this story resonates with me, even though John Ames is considerably older than I am.
There are truths here -- they unfold on every page and I feel like I should be taking notes. But the narrator pulls me along and I don't want to stop. Then I find myself reading too fast so I slow down to savor the thoughts and words. Reading this book is like sitting with an elderly relative or friend and listening as he unravels the thread of his life.
Here's one gem: "For me writing has always felt like praying, even when I wasn't writing prayers, as I am often enough. You feel that you are with someone."
I'm reading a library copy, but I'm going to have to buy it because I know I'll want to read it again.