Sunday, April 3, 2022

Reading is Life

What do you read to blow out the cobwebs and invigorate your inner writer?

Happy Monday! Brenda Chapman at the keyboard.

I generally have a book on the go at all times and it's usually, but not always, a mystery. Since I was knee high to a grasshopper, crime fiction has been my go-to for enjoyment and escapism. When I'm writing, I take breaks to read a few chapters and always finds this invigorates me. 

Perfect Books, one of my local independent bookstores, has a good selection of mysteries and the owner, Jim Sherman, has recommended a couple of authors whose work I keep going back to. The latest is Jane Harper, an Australian writer who tells a heck of a good tale. I started with The Dry and highly recommend it.

A few years ago, Jim introduced me to Adrian McKinty and I've become a devoted fan ever since. A good book of Adrian's to start with is The Cold Cold Ground introducing Sergeant Duffy. McKinty lately wrote a standalone thriller called The Chain, which is also good but I prefer his Duffy series set in Northern Ireland in the early 1980s. Brilliant writing.

The last book I read based on Jim's recommendation is The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman, lighter fare with a cast of elderly folks at a retirement home who meet every Thursday to work on solving cold cases. They become involved with the murder of someone they know and somehow worm their way into the police investigation. Quite a charming story -- light, humorous fair that provides good escapist reading, much needed these days.

Lately, I've been reading short stories before bed to wind down the day. I own a few Canadian anthologies that I've been enjoying, the latest called The Whole She-Bang. I'm looking forward to a new anthology to be released by Crime Writers of Canada in May called Cold Canadian Crime, a publication to mark their 40th anniversary. I'm pleased to have a story called "The Final Hit" included and can't wait to read stories by the other authors, many of whom are among the country's top crime fiction writers.

The other genre that I turn to now and then is poetry. I studied it in university and have always loved sinking into the beauty of language and imagery in well crafted stanzas. I turn to T.S. Eliot and my Canadian Anthology whenever I need a moment of quiet reflection.

If you're like me, you cannot contemplate a world without books. The countless hours I've spent reading and imagining have enhanced my life immeasurably and helped to get through good and not so good times. Reading fiction is a pleasure I've passed on to my daughters as well -- they love a good book, and like me, usually have one on the go and are always open to the next recommendation!


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Dietrich Kalteis said...

Like you, Brenda, I've always got a book open, and a stack ready to go.

Stephen Mack Jones said...

Yes, poetry is my between-gig sanctuary.