Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Choosing What to Read


Out of all the books available to read and limited time, what influences your choices? What books have you read this summer and which would you rate as your top recommendation?

Books, books, delicious books. Yesterday Brenda talked about choosing books at a bookstore. Today, I talking about choosing from my own selection of books.

  I have hundreds of unread books in my study…not to mention in the bookshelves in my bedroom…not to mention in the hallway…not to mention in the living room…and my husband’s office.



My problem is that I read everything. Okay, not absolutely everything. I probably wouldn’t read an entire book about golf. There are biographies I wouldn’t read. And a few other things. Why am I listing the things I wouldn’t read? Because it’s a lot easier than listing the things I do read. With all those books available at my fingertips, how do I decide what to read next? I’d love to say I have a system, but I don’t. I have “feeling.”

If I have a book to blurb, I’ll read that first. Or if someone has given me an ARC that I know is special. (I’m talking to you, Deborah Crombie—A Bitter Feast may be her best book yet!). Next I may choose a book that someone highly recommended and it sounded too wonderful to wait to read. And then of course there’s the book club selection that I have to read for our next meeting.

But sometimes I am gifted with the time to simply choose a book to indulge in. That’s when I assess my mood and think about it. At the moment I’m writing this I can stare across at a bookshelf full of delicious books. Am I in the mood for C.J. Box? How about a little darker…Camilla Lackberg. Or maybe something funny, Carl Hiaasen. Really dark? Jo Nesbo. How about if I feel like a trip to Paris? I haven’t gotten around to Cara Black’s Murder in Saint-Germain yet. There it is, beckoning.

What if I don’t want a mystery? There’s David Sedaris’ Theft by Finding, or Ian McEwan’s Solar. The Female Persuasion, by Meg Wolizer. 

And then there’s another shelf of mysteries. For some reason I never got around to Jeffrey Siger’s Sons of Sparta. There it is, luring me toward it.

Besides that, there is a shelf of books that I started and for some reason didn’t get far into it. Not that I didn’t enjoy it, I either didn’t have the time or wasn’t in the mood for it.

So as you can tell, my system isn’t a system at all. To prove it, here’s what I’ve read this summer, along with my ratings:

A Bitter Feast, Deb Crombie—would have to be in the top three.

The Old Man, Thomas Perry—also way up there. I have to say, this book is in some ways a perfect example of how a thriller should be written.

Black Nowhere, Reece Hirsch—terrific thriller based on the Silk Road story

Finding Katarina M., Elisabeth Elo—excellent. Hard to put down

The Wanted, Robert Crais. I can trust him to completely engage me. No strange BS, just a good, solid, straightforward story with his snide sense of humor, and Joe Pike!

The Book Artist, Mark Pryor—very good, solid mystery

Dead Stop, Barbara Nickless—pretty good. A little convoluted.

Waiting, Ha Jin (non-mystery)—very well written, but for some reason didn’t move me

Justice Burning, Scott Pratt—an odd book, well-written, but not uplifting. About vigilante justice.

And then there were a string of several disappointments. I won’t go into the specifics of names of books and authors, but suffice it to say that a couple of them had rave reviews and to me they just didn’t ever come together. Note: I’m tired of reading male fantasy thrillers of an older man who is totally buff and has a hot young babe for a girlfriend who can’t get enough of him. I’m sure it happens, but most of the fictional versions are not believable.

With all those books on my shelves, do I avoid bookstores? Are you kidding? I can’t pass a bookstore, and once there I almost find a book I MUST have.

Last night I started Nick Petrie’s Tear It Down. Stay tuned.

So, if you’re reading this, what are you excited about that you’ve recently read?












8 comments:

Dietrich Kalteis said...

I have The Wanted on my stack to read, and I've made note of a few other titles you mentioned. And who can pass by a bookstore?

Gram said...

I just want to thank you for the tip about Deborah Crombie's new book. I checked my library and all they have so far is the audio version, but I will keep looking. Thanks again. I have 11 books on my hold list at the library the top one - I'm 24th in line is the new P.J. Tracy. They, now she, are always a good read.

Brenda Chapman said...

Some great suggestions for future reading. You make me want to visit your house :-)

Rick Robinson said...

Matt Goldman. I love his P.I. Nils Shapiro books, Gone to Dust, Broken Ice and the latest, finished just last week, The Shallows. Top notch.

You say you read everything, does that include science fiction and fantasy?

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Reece said...

Thanks for the shout-out, Terry, and the excellent suggestions! This summer I'm nearly done with The Border by Don Winslow and thoroughly enjoying it. On the non-mystery/thriller front, I really liked Normal People by Sally Rooney. I also recently read a book with an unconvincing old guy/young hottie romance. I'm guessing that you may have read the same book, but we can compare notes the next time I see you.