Books I’m Reading and Like

Reading as Research

One of the coolest aspects of writing for a living (if it IS a living!) is that reading can be classified as work. Isn’t that just the greatest?

I don’t have to feel guilty about spending a day devouring fun books. My reading doesn’t have to be “serious,” I don’t have to worry about being tested, and I can read to my heart’s content–and feel righteous.

Because. . . it’s, um, work.

So what have I been reading?

Well, a whole lot of genre fiction, commercial reads: a lot of Anne Stuart’s backlist, everything David Baldacci’s written, and I have some of the .99 Kindle downloads to read so that I can see if I like that author’s voice. While I know I’m crazy about Jill Marie Landis’ work, I hadn’t read her Hawaiian goddess books, and since Mai Tai is available for .99, I seized that opportunity to try this newer series from her.

I’ve been trying to read across the board although I haven’t read any sci-fi or fantasy. Hmmm. Maybe I’m NOT reading “across the board” since as I really think about it, I’m reading romance, romantic suspense, and thrillers.

But, so what? It’s. . . all work!

Golly, I love my work. . . .

Now, cookies, what have you been reading–for whatever reason?

 

 

 

Catching up with Old Book Friends

Been loading up my Kindle and reading a whole bunch of old Jayne Ann Krentz/Amanda Quick titles from the nineties. Have been reminded of why I fell in love in the first place with romances.

She tells her core story with such charm and weaves in the historical stuff seamlessly so that it doesn’t burden the story. Well, shoot, she does a lot of things fabulously, but I’m always amused by her ability to pull out some quirky historical detail and then center her story around that historical fact.

Her Regencies are just. . . delicious fun. I’d forgotten how much fun.

Fun Shopping!

I did a dangerous thing today.

Yes.

I went to. . . my local Borders.

And went overboard. Of course.

Because I’ve been waiting for new books from Brad Meltzer (The Inner Circle); Tami Hoag’s second in her pre-high tech forensic science series; the new and unbelievably wonderful The Border Lords by T. Jefferson Parker (I am such a fan of his writing and of his stories; he’s such a terrific storyteller and stylist); and, of course, the new Call Me Irresistible from Susan Elizabeth Phillips.

All four books were there.

You know what I did, right?

I have no, I tell you, absolutely no, ability to resist a terrific story. And four terrific stories? On an icy, bitterly cold weekend?

Well, of course I bought all four. And that’s what I’m looking forward to while the Bears and the Packers battle it out for a Super Bowl berth. Whee!

HARLAN COBEN

Well, I have been a fan, a worship-at-his-feet fan of Coben ever since writer Margaret Watson insisted I had to read Coben’s Tell No One.

Fabulous beyond belief with its blend of thriller elements and emotion. I was knocked out of my socks.

So I tried to read his Myron Bolitar series. Myron is a former great basketball player who blew out his knee his first pro game and then became a sports rep on the side, occasionally getting into some detective work as needed for his clients. Couldn’t get into it. Didn’t like the tone with its blend of smartass and then these hits of really powerful emotion. Something about that didn’t work for me.

Until. . . I decided to give them a second try. Okay, I confess. I’m hooked. I read all of them. I’m still bugged by what is for me ajagged tone, but even the Myron Bolitar books are now a must buy, must read for me.

Perhaps, like a lot of relationships, the timing was just not right on our first meeting?

Anyway, if you haven’t yet read any of Coben’s work, give yourself a holiday treat and find one. You’ll be glad you did.

And if you’re not? Hey, you might need to wait a while and hit the books again. As I did.

Swept Away on a Blue Sea in August

I mentioned I was enthralled by Susan Casey's The Wave, her non-fiction book about rogue and freak waves in the oceans.  I also picked up her Devil's Teeth, another non-fiction set in the ocean, but this is about the great sharks.

No holds barred, I'm highly recommending both.  The woman writes non-fiction as if she were writing a thriller, lemme tell you.  If you're looking for a gift for someone, especially a guy someone, I'd sure think these books would rate.  They remind me in some ways of Robert Kurson's Shadow Divers, which I gave as gifts to some male friends and which I also recommended to my women friends for them and for their husbands.

And, no, I don't know Casey a'tall.  Well, except for "knowing" her through her fabulous writing.

Go treat yourself to a great three hours of spell-binding absorption-and it's all true.

Books I’m Reading

Isn't it a fabulous feeling to be completely swept up in a book?  Susan Casey's The Wave did that to me.  Talk about "being swept away by a blue sea in August," to steal the old movie title, but this book takes on the fascinating subject of the ocean's waves and how little we know about them.  I mean, she discusses these rogue waves that take out supertankers perhaps twice a week or twice a month.  They're not quite sure on that statistic, but whether it's two a week or two a month, OMG.

And the chapter on the 1740 wave, yes, WAVE, that came into Lituya Bay in Alaska back in 1958 is riveting.  The pictures are mind-boggling.  What's most jaw-dropping, though, for me, is to know that earlier ginormous waves had also hit Lituya.

As if all that were not enough, Casey goes on to write about the surf gods who play on these monsters:  Laird Hamilton and others who are towed out in search of 100 monsters to surf.

All I can say is that this non-fiction book reads like a thriller.  Loved it.

RECOMMENDED READS, aka, Books I Like

Just finished readingSarah Addison Allen's Sugar Queen. 

Since this is about books I like/liked, let me say that it's an example of magical realism, which may or may not be to your taste.  I liked it, though, but I lovelovelove Alice Hoffman's books which really rely on magical realism.

Not scary, but a bit atmospheric, Sugar Queen downplays the supernatural element in favor of a kind of sweetness, I'd guess you'd say.  I like what she does with her heroine's secret obsession with food and what enables Joesy to move away from filling up the emptiness in her life with food.  It's not heavy–sorry, no pun intended–on putting out a message, which was good.

Instead, the food references are sensory and part of the fabric of the story as Joesy becomes free enough to open herself to love and relationships and move on to a bigger–sorry, again!–life.

It also has a southern setting which is woven in nicely as almost a character, too.

It's a pleasant, non-threatening story of finding one's true self and told in a light, charming manner.

Am I sounding sort of lukewarm about it?  Maybe that's how it struck me.  But it was a nice Memorial Day read.

RECOMMENDED READS, aka, Books I Like

Going to start this new category of books I'm reading and recommending.  If you're interested, check in, comment, add your own recommendations, all right?  And, sidebar, here's a special irritation of mine–"all right" misspelled as "alright."

Whew, now that I have that off my chest (yes, I'd just read it in some book, and it really annoyed me, but then I'm crotchety about those kinds of things), on to GOOD READS.

I've recently finished Jennifer Greene's Blame It on Paris, and, as usual, I loved it.  Some of you know she's a friend of mine, so I'm predisposed to like her writing because I adore her.  However.  When it comes to The Work (capitalized because The Work is important!), I'm pretty hardnosed about recommending books.  I have to like it.  Have to think someone else will, too.  Maybe for the same reasons I do, maybe for different reasons.

On all counts, Blame It on Paris works.  I particularly love her way with the relationship and with her ability to create very appealing characters.

Greene firmly grounds me in a world where I'd like to live, a world where I'd have a heck of a good time.  Oh, yeah, and her books are very, very romantic! 

My other recommendation is Blythe Gifford's The Harlot's Daughter.   I don't read many historicals anymore.  Used to.  Not too many appeal to me these days, but I'm not sure why.  Adored the old Anya Seton historicals, the Laura Kinsale books.  But lately. . . .   Oh, well, who knows?

At any rate, Gifford's historical, set in the time of England's Richard II with all its machinations and court intrigue is a really well-done historical, but the spotlight is right there on the romantic relationship, which is very rich and powerful.  For you writers, I'm suggesting that you take a hard look at how she's shaped her conflict between the two main characters.

Man, talk about the "what's at stake" question–Gifford's put it on the pages.  In spades.  A page-turner.

Happy reading!