“Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home.” —Anna Quindlen
Reading is the best, even if it’s just the back of a cereal box! Today, we talk about what we’re currently reading and enjoying.
Well, that Anna Quindlen quote about books is lovely. But I guess my journey includes a lot of stops, switchbacks, and detours. I am currently in a strange place where I am reading several books at once. I read other people’s manuscripts as my day job, so I already have a lot of stories simultaneously running in my mind (including my perpetual work-in-progress). I just finished KILLER CONTENT by Olivia Blacke, which I adored. I’m also reading Richard Osman’s THE THURSDAY MURDER CLUB and BAIT AND WITCH by Angela M. Sanders. I always always always have one of Ace Atkins’s Robert B. Parker books going. And…just for good measure, I am enjoying the fabulous essays in HOW TO WRITE A MYSTERY, brought to us by Mystery Writers of America (Editors: Lee Child/Laurie R. King). I may have a Many-Faces-of-Reader-Lisa problem.
Remember my post, Eight Ways to Die about trying to come up with a plot that involves an octagonal house? Well, guess what I’m reading? The Armour-Steiner Octagonal House, written by Joseph Pell Lombardi, the man who restored this amazing home in Irvington, NY. The book is mostly photos, which is good for me these days. I’m at the point where adult picture books are pretty much all my brain can absorb.
Just finished Who is Maud Dixon? by Alexandra Andrews–which deserves every ounce of buzz it has been getting. I can already see the movie (in my head) and hope there is one in the works!
Yesterday was a great Book Mail day since my long-anticipated preorders finally came: Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala and How to Write a Mystery, the Mystery Writers of America’s new handbook edited by Lee Child and Laurie King. I predict great reading ahead.
Rather than talk about what I’m reading right now, I’m going to address my reading material from last year, when I had the honor of being one of the judges for the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Award for best mystery novel. As a result, I spent most 2020 with my head buried in a book, working my way through the over 400 submissions for the award (which turned out to be not a bad vocation for such a strange year!). It was an amazing experience, and I learned so very much about the craft of writing, reading all sorts of talented authors in a host of different mystery subgenres, from ultra-cozy to spine-tingling creepy and scary.
We ultimately chose six books as our nominees, which run the gamut from suspense to laugh-out-loud humor, and I adore every one: DJINN PATROL ON THE PURPLE LINE, by Deepa Annappara (the winner of the award); BEFORE SHE WAS HELEN, by Caroline B. Cooney; THE THURSDAY MURDER CLUB, by Richard Osman; THESE WOMEN, by Ivy Pochada; THE MISSING AMERICAN, by Kwei Quartey; and THE DISTANT DEAD, by Heather Young.
But once the year was over, I have to say I went straight to some sci fi (the Lady Astronaut series, by Mary Robinette Kowal) for a change of pace…
This is one of the few times in my life that I’m reading non-fiction. I’ve forgone my beloved mysteries and thrillers to dig into THE BODY KEEPS THE SCORE. It’s a fascinating read about neuroplastiticity (insert “There is a great future in plastics” quote here) and the brain’s ability to literally change, both for the better and the worse, in response to a variety of factors. The book has been around for a while, but it’s new and exciting to me. Who knows, maybe some of this science will find its way into my next book!
As far as mysteries, I’m reading back issues of Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine in an effort to try and learn how to write short stories. I’ve never really read widely in that genre, so I grabbed a box of like twenty issues for cheap as a way to edumacate myself. I hope learning by osmosis is a real thing!
I always have books about marketing and the business of writing on my Kindle, which I consume like a dog set loose at the Alpo factory. And I’m way behind on my magazines: Time, Smithsonian, The Sun, The Atlantic, and The New Yorker. I fear they will topple over and smother me while I sleep.
I’m looking forward to reading Interior Chinatown because I’ve heard so much hype about it. Also, it’s experimental in style and is told in a script-style format.
Here’s a picture I have of it (also featured in my recent Book Nerd post):
Readers, drop us a note in the comments below and let us know what YOU’RE reading!
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