JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: Friday reads! It's that time again, when the Reds tell you what we've read, what we are reading, and what you should read.
As I mentioned not long ago, I've been reading out of genre to sort of clear my palate. To quote myself, "I was able to stay up late and re-read Stephen King's The Shining. I followed up with Doctor Sleep
the next night. It was wonderful to immerse myself in the books, and
reading them back-to-back was an education in how King has developed as
an author and a human being." I've suggested this to several readers at the library in which I volunteer. It's like being able to see Henry IV parts 1 and 2 in one long performance - you can appreciate them both separately, it it means so much more together.
I've been getting some wonderful recommendations for science fiction and fantasy from io9, Gawker Media's science fiction site. The most recent book I read I discovered there, and it was wonderful: The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet. It would be a terrific book to give to someone who has enjoyed science fiction on TV but has never read in the genre: the book is a tender but unsentimental look at a year in the life of the crew of the wormhole-tunnelling spaceship Wayfarer. It's a character study much more than an action-adventure (although there's plenty of action and adventure both) and its chapters can almost be read as an interlocking series of short stories.
This weekends read for me? The latest Matt Ruff novel, Lovecraft Country. Ruff is a brilliant, quirky, genre-bending novelist and I've loved everything he's written, even though each of his books is dramatically different from the others. Lovecraft Country is about a group of ordinary heroes fighting on Lovecraftian horrors during the real life horrors of the early '50s: segregation, Jim Crow, and brutal racism. I'm very excited to read this, and I'll let you all know how it is afterwards.
Okay, Reds, what are you reading?
LUCY BURDETTE: I'm rereading Vanessa Diffenbaugh's THE LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS, because I wanted to remember how she handled the homeless girl character, thinking it might help with something I'm writing. It's compelling, even the second time through. Also reading Tracy K. Smith's memoir ORDINARY LIGHT, which is lovely, but not a sail through kind of book.
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: I just finished WHAT SHE KNEW by Gilly Macmillan, SO interestingly structured and compelling. (And as Lucy said, instructive. It's all two tracks for me now...reading, and learning.) I interviewed Chris Pavone for his Boston appearance, so I read THE TRAVELERS (Which I would have read anyway) and again, structure! Pacing! Structure! And Kim Powers' DIG TWO GRAVES, also terrific.
HALLIE EPHRON: I'm reading an ARC of Marian Stanley's forthcoming book, THE IMMACULATE. It's a special pleasure because I saw a very early version of this which I liked enormously. I hope Marian joins us on Jungle Red when it comes out in May to talk about where she found Sister Mary Aurelius and Rosaria O'Relly, characters that make an indelible mark.
SUSAN ELIA MACNEAL: For fun, I just finished an ARC of THE MOST EXTRAORDINARY PURSUIT, which is a most extraordinary historical mystery novel, set in Edwardian-era Crete, by newcomer Juliana Gray. I'm also trying to learn the basics of French cooking and have been reading THE LITTLE PARIS KITCHEN. For researching the new novel, I've been reading a TON — most recently, THE GERMAN PENETRATION OF SOE and DERICORT: THE CHEQUERED SPY, both by Jean Overton Fuller; SHADOWS IN THE FOG by Francis J. Suttill; and SPY PRINCESS: THE LIFE OF NOOR INYAT KHAN by Shrabani Basu. In all seriousness, my eyes are crossing and I need new glasses....
DEBORAH CROMBIE: I just finished a non-fiction book called LIT UP by journalist David Denby. It's Denby's fascinating account of spending two years with three 10th grade English classes, questioning whether kids who are not readers can become readers. I couldn't put this down, and may read it again with Post-It notes. Now I have Denby's GREAT BOOKS, his account of reading the freshman core courses at Columbia, his alma mater, along with the students. And I'm reading Ann Cleeves' WHITE NIGHTS, the first of the Shetland Quartet. Oh, and I'm listening to DAVID COPPERFIELD on Audible. My brain is full but I think I need to add THE LITTLE PARIS KITCHEN. I can never resist books with Paris and food together...
JULIA: Your turn, dear readers! Tell us what your #Fridayreads are!