Thursday, November 3, 2016
What We're Reading
LUCY BURDETTE: For some reason (and happily so), I’ve been reading more than usual lately. along with an old friend, I’ve gotten on a binge of Indian-themed books. (The country, not the native Americans.) The latest was an incredible memoir of growing up in Bombay by Thrity Umrigar. She shows no mercy in exposing both her own flaws and those of her complicated family—and oh the fascinating foreignness of Bombay. Luckily for me, she’s also written a handful of novels that are now on my Christmas list. I’ve also read the first novel by an Icelandic author, Ragnar Jonasson, called SNOW BLIND. Although there were some point of view shifts that drove me a little nuts, they were overshadowed by a fascinating young policeman character and the sheer frigidness of the setting in northern Iceland. Now I’m dying to visit—but not in winter.
And at this moment, we are traveling south and so listened to Paula Hawkins' GIRL ON A TRAIN. I'm not sure I would have made it through this book reading, but it was a compelling story to listen to. I wasn't crazy about the characters, but the author gave a master class on sustaining suspense.
Reds, what are you reading?
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: I am hiding my secret smile to tell you I have an ARC of the new Charles Todd, a Rutledge! Which is called RACING THE DEVIL and it is terrific. I don't know how they keep doing it!. I am reading THE LAST DAYS OF NIGHT about the battle between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse--it's a thriller, and it's terrific. And Susan Wolfe's hilarious and biting and sly ESCAPE VELOCITY where the main character is a female con artist who infiltrates the boardrooms of Silicon Valley. It is absolutely great. In fact, I'm going to ask her to do a guest blog. And Chris Holm's amazing RED RIGHT HAND, the second in his award winning Hendricks thrillers--about an assassin who only kills assassins. Brilliant. Plus he is a very cool guy, Oh, and AVID READER, thte memoir of editor Robert Gottleib. And! after meeting and chatting with Colson Whitehead (he was wearing red leather pants, just saying) I am of course reading UNDERGROUND RAILROAD. Which I would have read anyway.
And hey, you all, you're reading SAY NO MORE, right? As we speak, I am on the plane to Delray Beach to appear at Murder on the Beach! So come see me!
JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: Do political blogs count? Because it seems like I'm spending most of my time with the Washington Post, The New York Times, 538, Real Clear Politics, The Atlantic, TPM, The Slot, Concourse... obviously, I need to start relaxing with some soothing reads about WWII.
The audio book in my car is The Secret Life of the Grown-up Brain: The Surprising Talents of the Middle-Aged Mind by Barbara Strauch. It's engaging and well-written and is making me feel a lot better about forgetting words in the middle of a sentence! I'm also narrating a book: Youngest was assigned HEART OF DARKNESS in her AP Comp and Lit class and she was finding it hard going (it does have a very hallucinogenic, head-switching point of view.) So I've been reading it aloud to her and am enjoying it much more than she is.
My latest fiction is J Courtney Sullivan's MAINE. I like her writing very much - I've already enjoyed THE ENGAGEMENTS and, of course, COMMENCEMENT, which is practically required reading for parents of Smithies. Sullivan's books are steeped in the kind of modern New England sensibility that only comes from being born and bred in the area.
Now I'm off to send an email to Chris Holm to ask him where MY copy of RED RIGHT HAND is!
HALLIE EPHRON: I'm starting to write a new novel about a woman who tries to declutter her life, so I'm reading Marie Kondo's THE LIFE-CHANGING MAGIC OF TIDYING UP. It's short. And I confess it hasn't inspired me to straighten my sock basket.
When I was in British Columbia for the Surrey International Writers Conference last week I came home with books that I'm enjoying. Loving Eileen Cook's WTH MALICE, about a teenager who wakes up in the hospital to find she's lost weeks of her life. Next I'm reading K C Dyer's FINDING FRASER - a girl falls in love with a hero ripped from the pages of her favorite novel, the Scottish fictional star of romantic fantasies the world over—James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser. Then I'll get back to finishing reading THE GOLDFINCH.
DEBORAH CROMBIE: I just finished a book my daughter highly recommended, BLOOD ON THE TRACKS, a stunningly good first novel by Denver writer Barbara Nickless. The protagonist, Sydney Rose Parnell, is an Iraq vet now working for the railroad police. It's gritty and gripping and will make you feel bone-numbingly cold! Oh, and Sydney Rose has a K-9 partner, Clyde, who is also a veteran.
When I'm in London I always hit the Buy 1, Get 50% Off a Second Book at the book chains. I'm reading the first of the two I bought, another police thriller but this time British, MISSING, PRESUMED, by Susie Steiner. So far it's really good, with very richly drawn detail and very human characters. The other book I bought is called THE FORGETTING TIME by Sharon Guskin and it has great reviews. My audio book in progress is I HEAR THE SIRENS IN THE STREET, the second book in Adrian McKinty's Detective Sean Duffy novels, set in Ireland during the Troubles. I think McKinty's books are some of the best being written in crime fiction. Great voice, great atmosphere, and a fascinating look at life in Belfast in the early 80s.
Now, if I could just wean myself off the political news, I'd have so much more time to read...
Dear Reds, what are you reading?