Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Deck the halls …

It's the time of the year for gift-giving, so give us your book suggestions please!

by Dietrich

Coming to the end of the year, I wanted to share some memorable reads from the past months. While I haven’t included any books I’ve already recommended in earlier posts, I found the hard part was picking a few from a long list of great books. The ones I ended up with are not all new, and they’re not all crime, but they’re all highly recommended. So, here goes:

Another Kind of Eden by James Lee Burke, published by Simon & Schuster, 2021. “She wore a black blouse with a white lace collar and had an animated sternness about her that suggested a conjugal situation similar to waking up each morning on a medieval rack.”  

Getting to the root of all evil from the master of description transports readers to the American midwest of the 1960s with another great novel. 

Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead, Doubleday, 2021. “Carney was only slightly bent when it came to being crooked, in practice and ambition.”

A brilliant tale of heists, shakedowns and rip-offs in Harlem in the 1960s.

Taste, My Life Through Food by Stanley Tucci, published by Simon & Schuster, 2021. “Now, I am not one who is necessarily drawn to the Michelin star. Often I find that many of the restaurants that have earned this coveted award are a bit fussy, to say the least, and I’ve left a few of them completely famished, as I have never found pretentiousness very filling.”

A charming memoir filled with stories from the actor’s life both in and out of the kitchen.

Billy Summers by Stephen King, published by Scribner, 2021. “He has no problem with bad people paying to have other bad people killed. He basically sees himself as a garbageman with a gun.” 

It’s a crime novel you won’t be able to put down.

Maid by Stephanie Land, published by Legacy Lit, 2020. “It seemed like no matter how much I tried to prove otherwise, “poor” was always associated with dirty.”  

A touching and inspiring memoir of one woman’s will to survive tough times.

Washington Black by Esi Edugyan, published 2018 by Knopf. “My current life, I realized, was constructed around an absence; for all its richness I still felt as if the floors might give way, as if its core were only a covering of leaves, and I would slip through, falling endlessly, never to get my footing.”

An epic tale of a field slave’s escape from a Barbados sugar plantation in the 1830s.

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens, published by Penquin, 2018. “Autumn leaves don't fall, they fly. They take their time and wander on this their only chance to soar.”  

It’s part coming-of-age, part crime novel, and it’s well told.

The Devil All the Time by Donald Ray Pollock, published by Doubleday, 2011. “Some people were born just so they could be buried.”

A dark, but solid debut novel.

The Right Mistake by Walter Mosley, Basic Civitas Books, 2008. “So if you shoot me in the back how’s that gonna make you into a man? Socrates asked then. “How yo’ son gonna learn yo’ last lesson if you sneak around and bushwhack me?”  

The third in a great series centering on the life and times of Socrates Fortlow. 

Paula Spencer by Roddy Doyle, Viking Press, 2006. “It’s the only thing sexier than a sexy woman. A sexy woman cooking fuckin’ sausages.”

The sequel to The Woman Who Walked Into Doors takes focus on the once booze-soaked life of battered wife Paula Spencer, picking up ten years after the death of her husband.

I Married a Communist, by Philip Roth, published by Vintage in 1998. “Why, emotionally, is a man of his type reciprocally connected to a woman of her type? The usual reason: their flaws fit.”

Follow the story of Ira Ringold as he falls victim to the McCarthy witch hunt of the 1950s. 

Cool Hand Luke by Donn Pearce, Fawcett Books, 1965. “I wish you'd stop being so good to me, Cap'n.” 

A classic that stands the test of time, about a prisoner on a Florida chain gang who refuses to get with the system.

All the best to one and all for the Holidays. I look forward to the coming New Year with the terrific crew of writers here at Criminal Minds.


Susan C Shea said...

Another intriguing and diverse list - thanks, Dietrrich. I really enjoyed WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING, and since I love Stnley Tuscci (or at least the characters he creates), I think I'll enjoy that too.

Dietrich Kalteis said...

Thanks, Susan. I hope you like the Stanley Tucci book.