Sunday, April 12, 2020

Reading Outside the Crimes


We all have favorite sub-genres in crime fiction, but do you venture beyond them in your personal (ie. not research) reading? If so, what do you read that’s not necessarily your usual cup of tea, and why?

Happy Easter weekend, everyone. Brenda Chapman blogging today.



There was a time that all I read was crime fiction but over the years I’ve belonged to a number book clubs that have served to widen my horizons. The club that I’m in now has been meeting for the past three years and we’ve read a wide variety of novels, including:

The Dutch House - Ann Patchett
Little Fires Everywhere – Celest Ng
Where the Crawdads Sing – Delia Owens
Educated - Tara Westover
Becoming - Michelle Obama
Starlight - Richard Wagameese
A Gentleman in Moscow - Amor Towles
Warlight - Michael Ondaatje
An American Marriage - Tayari Jones
Precious Cargo - Craig Davidson

It seems we've been choosing recently published novels, many of which are on the bestseller lists. I've enjoyed every read, some more than others, but every book has broadened my knowledge and given me more writing styles and story arcs to study. The books tend to be standalones and of the literary bent with a few biographies thrown in. Next month, we're discussing Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale and The Testaments, both of which I finished reading a few days ago. They're brilliant, cautionary tales with Atwood's trademark evocative writing.

With limited reading time, I've barely read any crime fiction in this same time period and must say that I'm ready to delve back into the genre, particularly during this stay-at-home time of social isolation.

The last crime fiction book that I read was Conviction by Denise Mina and I highly recommend it for its plot and originality and terrific writing. I've also managed to squeeze in some books by Adrian McGinty and Stuart McBride, both outstanding writers from the British Isles, and my Canadian friends Rick Mofina and Barbara Fradkin, whose work you should put on your reading lists.

Yesterday, I placed an order for five mysteries from my independent bookseller, which will be delivered to my door. Consider ordering books in this time of social isolation, not only for the enjoyment they'll provide but also to help keep the book industry, including booksellers, alive and flourishing. 

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4 comments:

Dietrich Kalteis said...

Some great recommendations, Brenda, and a big yes to ordering books from our favorite independent booksellers.

Brenda Chapman said...

Thanks Dietrich and Happy Easter :-)

Jennifer J. Chow said...

Thanks for sharing your list, Brenda! I'm part of a new virtual book club called 2020 Quarantine Book Club, which is supporting recent authors and their releases. We last read THE MOUNTAINS SING, which is an amazing book filled with authentic Vietnamese history.

I'm looking forward to getting back to crime fiction, though, and have the thriller, THE NINJA DAUGHTER (ordered from an indie bookstore), on my to-read radar!

Brenda Chapman said...

Thanks Jennifer - I love the idea of your virtual bookclub. I belong to a club that has now turned to Zoom meetings. Not the same as in-person but a nice way to stay connected. All the best.