DEBORAH CROMBIE: Rhys has already reported to you
about Left Coast Crime 16, The Cactus Caper, the fan and writer conference held in Phoenix over the last weekend in February. This conference was a blast! I saw so many friends, and met new ones, both writers and fans. The panels were great. The weather was glorious--this is why people move to Phoenix, perfect 75 to 80 degree days in February. I got to see a good bit of downtown Phoenix, plus I got to visit my friend chef Sean Currid's new restaurant, The Blue Hound, in the Kimpton Palomar. To top it off, I came home with a great stack of new books.
AND, unfortunately, the flu. As did at least a dozen other people that I know.
Now the upside to this is that I had a day, in the middle of last week, when I did not get out of my pajamas, which is very unusual for me. That day, I did something else I don't do very often. I allowed myself a book binge.
I tucked myself up on the chaise in my office (having quarantined myself from the bedroom for the duration) and I read the new Charles Todd Ian Rutledge novel, No Shred of Evidence, from cover to cover. The book is fabulous, and Caroline (assuming she is recovered enough from the flu) will be here to talk about it on Friday.
But the uninterrupted read was such a treat, such a luxury, that it made me realize how seldom I allow myself to do it. Usually, only when I'm confined-to-bed sick, and sometimes in London, when I have none of the ordinary household/family responsibilities and can take a rest/read day. In fact, the last time I read a book straight through was last year in London, when I curled up in front of the gas fire in my flat and read Laurie King's Dreaming Spies in one cold, rainy day.
I think we experience books differently when we are completely immersed and our imaginative experience is not interrupted by time and daily life. We live the characters and the story more intensely. And I think books that we read this way stay with us, are imprinted on our memory more deeply.
Reds, how often do you manage to read a book in an uninterrupted day? What was the last book you read on a "binge?" And do books read that way make a greater or more lasting impression on you?
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: I completely think it's different. I manage to get through three or four pages in bed at night, before I fall asleep, and I often think about how unfair that is to the author. I will confess now, that back in 1980, I called in sick to work (!) because I knew all I wanted to do was stay home and read THE STAND. Debs, I did the same thing with my first Rutledge, though I' m wracking my brains for the title, and I did the same thing more recently with Shannon Kirk's METHOD 15/30, and with Laura DiSilverio's new thriller (coming soon) CLOSE CALL. Oh, and Gilly Macmillan's WHAT SHE KNEW. It helps to be on airplanes all the time. That is lovely enforced reading time. (Right now I'm in the airport in St. Kitt's!) Feel better, dear Debs!
HALLIE EPHRON: It rarely happens that I find a book that I CAN binge read as opposed to binge skim. Because the storytelling has to hook me and the writing has to be so good that I want to read every word. And I’m so happy when it happens. Scott Turow’s Presumed Innocent. Michael Connelly’s The Lincoln Lawyer. Laurie R. King’s The Beekeeper’s Apprentice. Keigo Higashino’s The Devotion of Suspect X. When I’m sick my go-to drug is an audio book.
RHYS BOWEN: Oh, what a luxury to be able to read a book straight through. I rarely have the time and I can't read fiction while I'm writing. But on vacation I get through at least 4 books and I just read Kate Morton's The Lake House in about three sessions because I hated to put it down. I did the same with Louise Penny's The Nature of the Beast last year. Now I'm engrossed in a good book, can't wait to get back to it, and actually it's mine. I've never found myself reading one of my own books with expectation and pleasure like this before. I'm supposed to be doing edits but I want to keep reading - but I can't tell you what it is. You'll have to wait a while.
DEBS: Rhys, you are such a tease! Now we're going to be chewing our nails wondering about this mysterious book... And Hallie, how interesting about the audio books. Is it that listening rather than reading allows you to turn off your editor-brain and focus on the story? It never occurs to me to listen rather than read. Although with this bug, I'd have had to stop the story every time I started coughing...
Readers, do you treat yourself to reading a book cover-to-cover? And what was the last book you got to read straight through?