Friday, August 28, 2020

I Don’t Recommend Books…But Try These

Do you recommend books to your fans? Do you recommend books like yours, or books you enjoy? Have you noticed your book tastes changing during quarantine?

Guest Post by Jonathan Brown
Jonathan Brown

I’m (Paul) taking a break today. Filling in for me is my friend Jonathan Brown. Jonathan writes the Lou Crasher series of books. He’s also the author of two historical fiction books: A Boxing Trainer’s Journey about Angelo Dundee (released 2019). Also: Character Is What Counts about Vince Lombardi (coming late 2021). And he’s currently writing a stand-alone Western about a Black wrangler falsely accused of being a horse thief. His book Don’t Shoot the Drummer drops in November 2020. He and his wife live in Los Angeles.

Take it away, Jonathan:

I Don’t Recommend Books…But Try These

I have a newsletter that I send out to those that are current, or soon to be, (hopefully) fans. In each issue I list the last three books that I’ve read. When I got into the crime writing game the books I read were primarily crime fiction. Somewhere along the way I began to miss books outside the genre. I’ve always been a variety/change-it-up guy. At first I worried about losing crime-reading fans by posting current affairs, biographies, historical books and so on.

Then I thought, ya know what? Ah, they probably don’t care. By sharing all the different things I read, well, they’re getting a clearer picture of the real me. I was especially worried about sharing the political books I read—what if my readers don’t share my political views? At that point I didn’t care because again, I is who I is. Besides, what they’d come to notice is I read left, right and center because after all, we learn by reading, listening and digesting from all sides. And for those that are curious, I’m an independent as in, independent thought. And I wish more people would exercise and implement independent thought instead of following the leader of a tribe.

And now, I step down from the soapbox. I don’t recommend books to readers, I just share what I read. Among close friends and family sure, but to strangers—who am I to recommend anything?

As far as reading habits during the pandemic I’d say my choices have certainly expanded. I always look for balance in all aspects of my life: balance in yoga poses, martial arts strikes, musical choices, shows I stream, my relationship with my wife and so on. Pre-pandemic I read mostly crime fiction. The reasons being: A. there are a ton of writers whose books I want to read. B. I interview crime writers on my blog and I have a policy of reading at least one of their books before I interview them. (

The lockdown, for me anyway, has caused me take a deeper look at the big picture. What is the (pardon the overused phrase) new normal going to look like? How are we treating each other during these stressful times? Are we wearing masks in an attempt to stay safe and protect others, or are we not buying-in, and letting the good times roll? These questions and more have raised my curiosity level, thus, I’m picking up books from all sorts of spectrums and universes.

Here’s a short journey to one of my reads. My wife and I watched Mrs. America on Hulu starring Kate Blanchett. I was particularly impressed with the character and real life activist/politician, Shirley Chisholm. I needed more Mrs. Chisholm than the show had given me. So, I hopped onto Amazon and ordered her book, Unbought & Unbossed, published in 1970. Due to COVID times and perhaps increased demand, the book took over a month to get to me. I received delay after delay emails from Amazon. Finally, the book arrived and, wow, what a powerful lady! I highly recommend this book…even though, as stated earlier, I don’t recommend books. (wink, wink).

The other two titles pictured below are books I enjoyed. Although, with Mary Trump’s book, Too Much And Never Enough, maybe the word ‘enjoyed’ isn’t the best word choice. Let’s say it was well written and incredibly…heavy! Breath was much more than just a book about, well, breath. It even got me exploring the Vim Hoff breathing method—and why not? When in quarantine: breathe, baby, breathe!

And now the slick part:

I absolutely recommend, no, require that you read Don’t Shoot The Drummer (releases date November 2020, Down And Out Books), because it’s got my name on it. O.K. That’s it. Don’t ask me for any more recommendations because it’s just not something I do. Stay safe.


Thank you, Jonathan. And now to the usual BSP and stuff:

I want to thank Colman Keane of Col’s Criminal Library in England for this great review of The Blues Don’t Care. Here’s an excerpt and a link to the full review:

“A compelling 40s set LA murder mystery, concerning itself with questions of race and identity against the back-drop of the second World War.

I don't think I've encountered such an interesting protagonist for a long while in my reading. Bobby Saxon is a pianist trying to get a start in the music business. There's more to Bobby though than meets the eye.... he's conflicted, confused, secretive, naive, brave, talented and desperate.”

Please join me on Facebook: and check out my website


Terry said...

Thank you for introducing us to Jonathan, Paul. Jonathan I look forward to reading your books. And I have to reveal my age by telling you I was at a rally for Shirley Chisholm "back in the day." She was fierce!

Dietrich Kalteis said...

Thanks for inviting Jonathan, Paul. Interesting post.

Cathy Ace said...

Good to meet you, Jonathan - thanks for the interesting post :-)

Susan C Shea said...

Hi Jonathan, thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. I lived in NYC when Shirley Chisholm was active in politics, being her inspiring, wonderful self. Loved her then, and my admiration hasn't dimmed since!