Thursday, June 15, 2017

Summer Reading

My latest Alafair Tucker novel, Forty Dead Men, is in the can, as they say, and I await my editor’s final approval. I’ve already begun researching my next novel, but the major thing I want to do before I get deep into writing again is really clean the house—and maybe do some summer reading. I read a lot, but I don’t often get to read what I want. Most of my reading is either a novel for review or something that will help me prepare to teach a writing class.

Since I live in the Phoenix, Arizona, metro area, summer is NOT the time for reading a good book out by the pool. That pleasure is reserved for any other time of year. In the middle of summer, the best one can do is close all the curtains, crank up the A/C (and hope that the electricity doesn’t go out), drink lots of water, and lie very still. And if you think I’m kidding, the forecast temperature for the weekend is 116º F, and a projection of 120º F by Tuesday (close to 49º C). As I write this, it’s a reasonable 104º, which by the end of next week will seem almost chilly. All we can do is pray that the National Weather Service prediction is wrong.

In short, when it’s summer in Phoenix, don’t go outside. Stay inside and read a good book.

I have a tendency to choose works by author rather than random title, though a few really great titles have drawn me in. Allow me to list a few authors for your summer reading consideration, present Type M company excepted, because really you can’t go wrong with any of the contributors to this blog. Otherwise:

I love the Hamish Macbeth Mysteries by M.C. Beaton. Her latest is Death of a Ghost.

Mark Pryor’s The Paris Librarian is entertaining and a great way to take a cheap trip to Paris. His latest, The Sorbonne Affair, won't be out until August.

Charlaine Harris’ Aurora Teagarden Mysteries feature a Georgia librarian who is recently married to a mystery novelist. This series is back after a long hiatus. I like them because they have a certain depth and humanity without being ponderous about it. The latest is All The Little Liars.

Any Louise Penny book will take you away to a  mystical world in Quebec. Inspector Armand Gamache is an amazing creation. I find this series rather uneven, but the village of Three Pines is such a nice place to visit that it doesn’t really matter that much. The first novel in the series, Still Life, is the place to start.

If you’re into Regencies (which I can take ‘em or leave ‘em, as a rule), I was impressed with A Useful Woman by Darcie Wilde. Wilde’s description of the haute monde in early 19th Century London is fascinating, and her characters seem like real people.
I also like biographies and non-fiction, and I really thought The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, by Daniel James Brown, was exceptionally good.

Do you have a delightful summer reading suggestion for me, Dear Reader?


Eileen Goudge said...

Just downloaded "The Spy Who Came in From the Cold" on my Kindle. For some reason, I missed this classic John Le Carre novel when it first came out. I figured better late than never. And what better reading for the dog days of summer than a title with the word "cold" in it?

Sybil Johnson said...

Even with air conditioning, temps regularly in the 100s are way too hot for me! I like the M.C. Beaton series you mention, though I'm quite far behind on them. I plan on catching up with the Samantha Kidd mysteries by Diane Vallere and some non-fiction books I have on Maya Hieroglyphs.

John R. Corrigan (D.A. Keeley) said...

Hi, Donnis. Thanks for this list. Have you read THE SYMPATHIZER? And I'm half-way through Bryan Stevenson's JUST MERCY. It's nonfiction about his legal work to help those on death row. You've got a lengthy list already, but if you're looking for two more ....

Rick Blechta said...

That's a very nice list. I've read some, but not others. Thanks for the suggestions!

Donna S said...

Wow! I thought the heat and humidity of Southern Ontario was bad.

I like books set in the period between the wars and in England. How about Jacqueline Winspear and her sleuth Maisie Dobbs or any urban fantasy books by Charles de Lint?
Elly Griffiths writes a great series about an archeologist/sleuth set on the Norfolk coast of England or Phil Rickman and his vicar/sleuth (wonderful books) Merrily Watkins who is the official exorcist of Anglican Church in Ledwardine where it is always raining or cold or snowing. That will cool you off!

Donis Casey said...

Thanks, all for the great suggestions!