Guilty Pleasures

I must hasten to explain that no, this isn’t a post about coffee or chocolate or anything other than reading!

It is a post about some of the authors I have been reading over the past several months.

I read voraciously while I am conducting research and writing. At night, when I settle down for bed, I like to read novels – just to wind down a bit before I go to sleep.

Sometimes this doesn’t work, as when I am reading something I cannot put down. For example, I read Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes and literally was up into the early morning for a few days in a row until I finished this long novel (600+ pages).

Here’s my post about Matterhorn and several other Vietnam War novels.

I just heard on NPR this morning about another new Vietnam War novel, The Lotus Eaters by Tatjana Soli, which came out about the same time as Matterhorn. It received very little press. Nancy Pearl – the only librarian with an action figure modeled after her – recommended it highly during her NPR interview.

OK: Guilty Pleasures – I’ve been reading authors my Mom was reading in the years just before she died in 2009.

John Lescroart, my new favorite. His character Desmas Hardy has a rich internal life and is so real. Hardy is a former cop who went to law school and became an attorney. He throws darts while he is thinking. A Desmas Hardy novel is like a cross between a police procedural and a legal thriller. San Francisco appears almost like a character in these Lescroart novels. Compelling. Recommended!

Lee Child. Have you read Lee Child? If not, you are in for a treat. Jack Reacher is his protagonist, and an anti-hero / hero to boot. Reacher is a former U.S. Army military policeman who has no ties and travels the country with a folding toothbrush in his pocket, the clothes on his back, and little else but his wits and brawn. Very violent; my Mom devoured these Reacher novels – something which I continue to find astonishing. The way he deals with a couple of thugs shaking down a restaurant owner in NYC in the first few pages of Running Blind (2000) is classic! I recommend that you read the Reacher novels in order for maximum impact. Highly recommended.

Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. The Cabinet of Curiosities (2002) was the first Preston / Child novel I read. Grisly and utterly compelling; difficult to put down! FBI Special Agent Pendergast’s specialty is investigating and solving serial killings; his character is fascinating. After I read The Cabinet of Curiosities, I read all of the other Pendergast novels I could find! Definitely read the Agent Pendergast novels in order for maximum impact! Highly recommended.

David Baldacci. The Collectors (2006) was one of the first Baldacci novels I read. I tried reading Last Man Standing but couldn’t get into it because of the violence. The Collectors and its character “Oliver Stone” and his “Camel Club” allowed me a way in to the other Baldacci novels. Finally, I read Last Man Standing, too. Recommended.

What else had Mom been reading? She had also been reading novels by Michael Connelly and Nelson DeMille. After I read a couple of novels by each of these authors, I’ll provide an update!

Was Mom only reading male authors? No. According to her notes, she had also been reading Amy Tan, Maeve Binchy, and Joyce Carol Oates. Mom was reading a new novel by Oates when she (Mom) became very ill and died suddenly last August.

I am very grateful to Mom and Dad for being voracious readers and for setting this example for me.

About Andrew Shattuck McBride

I am a writer, editor, writing coach, and consultant. I work in a variety of genres, including poetry, short stories, and creative non-fiction. I also have a couple of novels simmering on back burners. THANK YOU to Nan Macy of Village Books for taking this photo (June 2011).
This entry was posted in Authors, Books, Notes on Sally K. McBride, Notes on the Literary Life. Bookmark the permalink.

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