Wednesday, June 25, 2008


I'm taking a general beating lately for a) not asking for help and b) acting like I can do everything myself. And while my gut response is to say a) asking for help is not something that comes easily to me and b) what makes you think I can't do everything myself?? (as long as you don't look too closely, anyway), I see the logic in what I'm hearing. So to prove that I listen when a whole pile of people say basically the same thing, I have another topic that I need help on.

I need something to read. Something gripping but not scary. Light and frothy is fine, but so is dark and intense. No science fiction and no serial killers. I'm partial to mysteries, but they tend to be heavy on the serial killers. I guess you can't have everything.

I went to the library last week and had a terrible time picking anything. I ended up getting a bunch of non-fiction books on my new little fixation (don't ask), but nothing that I really felt like climbing into bed with. And I'm awfully used to reading before I go to sleep, so it's messed me up a little. (That and the fact that I seem to be missing a bunch of books that I all of a sudden am obsessed with rereading). You really can't have everything.

So I need ideas. Read anything great lately? I'm up for anything, as long as it has a recommendation behind it. And I know there are some voracious readers amongst us, with many strong opinions. Let's hear them.

See? I can too ask for help.


Nervus Rex said...

LOL -- You did so ask for help. Way to Go!!

I'm reading "The Judas Strain" and am about 1/3 through. Can't remember the author. It's a new paperback. Conspiracies, bacteria... I don't usually go for those but this is really gripping me. I'm actually going to bed pre-midnight every night just to get another few minutes to read!

It's a good easy read -- and I hope that it finishes as well as it has started!

WT said...


miss yerem said...

hello rc:
crime novels:everything by sue grafton,marcia muller,linda barnes and sara paretsky.apart from that:
barbara trapido:brother of the more famous jack
chris stewart: driving over lemons
ruth reichl:garlics&sapphires
am recovering from an operation just now,so i had to pile up on books as well:-))

Carolyn said...

A light and frothy series that my husband and I just love is one by author Lee Child which features a kick-ass character called Jack Reacher. The first in the series is called "The Killing Floor". It's not the best one, but they go in order, so I'd advise reading it first. Lee Child doesn't hit his stride until the about the third in the series, but the first two are still fun & easy reads. The character Jack Reacher is an ex-military MP turned vagrant drifter who always finds himself solving some mystery or another in some backwards small town for an underdog who needs his help. The plots are predictable, but it's fun because Jack is such a great character. Balazs and I usually fight over who gets the first copy that comes up available at the library. Anyway, it's not highbrow reading, but I highly recommend it anyway!

I'd love to hear what you think if you ever read it... drop me a line.

Aoj & The Lurchers said...

The Judas Strain is written by James ROllins and it is indeed a ripping yarn, as are most of his books, although the earlier ones can get a little far-fetched!

I've just finished The Shadow of the Wind and that was superb. A little dark in places but enough humour in one of the characters to take the edge off. It's a mystery and although there is a killer in it, that isn't the main thrust of the story.

Flowerpot said...

Anything by Elizabeth Berg. Sue Gee - reading in Bed. I've been feeling just like you lately and found both of these writers did teh trick! Good luck.

Anonymous said...

any of the Andrea Camilleri books about Inspector Montalbano as translated by Sartarelli. Set in Sicily. Great food. The Inspector is very fanciable. And complex mafia intrigue frequently, but not so much serial killers as one-off murders, or missing people.

Maggie May said...

"Bone Cold", Erica Spindler!

laurie said...

THE BLIND ASSASSIN by margaret atwood.

gripping. long. intense. mystery within a mystery within a mystery. booker prize winner.

you'll love it.

softinthehead said...

I like Jodi Picccoult - she writes about some very modern themes and I really enjoy her style. My Sister's Keeper is one of the best. Also Family Matters by Rohinton Mistry was another great read. Good luck. And thanks for initiating all the other great recommendations.

Rose said...

Bridge of Sighs
Digging to America
The Tenderness of Wolves (kinda a mystery)
A Good House (hard to find but I'll send it if you can't find it)
In The Woods (mystery)

These are all really good books I've read in the last couple of months. I'll think of more later!

Rudee said...

I know you said no serial killers and nothing dark, but Jeffry Deaver is back with The Broken Window. I can' put it down.

Flutterby said...

Try Martha Grimes' series with Chief Inspector Richard Jury as the main character. These mysteries are low key (not gruesome particularly and no serial killers) but the best part of the books are the characters. Her creations are idiosyncratic and amusing. I especially love the children. They are originals and usually wiser than the adults.

Marti said...


I love the Jack Reacher novels as well. I just finished the latest one and really enjoyed it. That was going to be one of my recommendations, RC.

My other is a series by Vince Flynn. The hero in this series of books is one that you would hope we have in the CIA.

Enjoy these reads. I wait in anticipation for new novels to come out by these authors. I don't think any of these have had serial killers in them.

downyocean said...

I think that you will like the following that I have read or re-read lately:
Water for Elephants
Beautiful Boy with Tweak - 2 memoirs by a father and son, harrowing but interesting
A good Dog by Jon Katz
The Dogs of Bedlam Farm also by Katz
Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovitch
I, also love the Jack Reacher books by Lee Child and devoured as many as possible from the LPL.
British author Debora Crombie writes a good police procedural series.
I could go on and on, but time to go.

Janie said...

I just finished "The Friday Night Knitting Club" and it was awesome.

Not my usual fare, but I loved the book.

Katy said...

If you like mysteries I highly recomend Caroline Graham's Inspector Barnaby series. The British TV show Midsummer Murders are based them. I love it, light reading, and yes, filled with murders, but some how the English writing makes it different. I guess that's just the American in me wishing I had been born in Britttan.

I would also suggest reading Hugh Laurie's books. I can say I loved his first, Gun Seller. It was hilarious. I haven't read the second one yet though.

speccy said...

Any of the Janet Evanovich Stephanie Plum series- hilarious crime in NJ.
Always enjoy Jodi Picoult, Lee Child, Ian Rankin, Peter Robinson, Adrian McKinty, Iain Banks, Richard North Patterson for fluffy and not so fluffy pageturning

Devon said...

I love mysteries too, but could do without the mutilation and torture of young women.

My favorite mystery writer is Elizabeth George. Great writing and I can rarely figure it out till the end! She writes the Inspector Lynley series.

Kaytabug said...

Small Wonder by Barbara Kingsolver.
It is a most excellent read, very quick read. I wanted to read it in one sitting!

Rose said...

Read everything by Kingsolver you can; not mysteries, but one of my favorite authors. Ditto for Richard Russo.

Potty Mummy said...

I'm like a broken record on this one, the number of times I've recommended it to other bloggers: Suite Francaise, by Irene Nemirovsky. Make sure you read the notes at the end when you finish. And the rest you will have to find out for yourself if you read it...

-Ann said...

Laura Lippman - something like "What the Dead Know" or "Every Secret Thing" - great mystery-ish books with incredible characters and no serial killers.

Akelamalu said...

I've been reading Stuart McBride recently but his books are all about serial killers!

Mya said...

Anything by Kate Atkinson, Maggie O'Farrell, Margaret Attwood, Barbara Kingsolver (The Poisonwood Bible),Jonathan Coe, Sebastian Faulks, Catherine O'Flynn (What Was Lost),Douglas Coupland...erm, can't think of any more at the moment.

It's interesting to see Lee Child mentioned. He writes quintessentially American books (from what I gather - I haven't actually read one), but is from Blighty...and now lives in this neck of the woods (South of France). He's a regular on the best sellers list, so he's evidently doing something right.

Mya x

Rose said...

Told you I'd be back. Get any of Jhumpa Lahiri's books you can. She's fabulous.

Flutterby said...

RC, you've done a real public service with this post. Your readers have supplied a wonderful host of authors I'm going to try. It is also fun to see there are fans of some of the authors I enjoy too such as Lee Child, Linda Barnes, Marsha Muller.

A couple of other authors that are fun are Elizabeth Peters and Joan Hess.

LCM said...

Hey, come on over and check out my shelf. I haven't been reading anything too heavy this summer. I would recommend Black Out, highly, but the serial killer is there. Good luck finding books and thanks for asking everyone, I am always looking for new stuff.

Paddy Ebeneezer said...

I'm a fan of Mark Billingham, he writes the DI Thorne series, a london based detective who is best mates with my favourite character, Hendricks, who is a goth homosexual pathologist from Manchester! The books although having the theme of solving the mystery, share segments of Thorne's life and how he deals with his father's deteriorating health due to altsheimers.

Again, you can read them individually, but the series goes in this order I think,

Sleepy Head (definitely the first),
Scaredy Cat,
Lazy Bones,
The burning girl,
Death Message.

CrazyCath said...

Well, here goes my twopenno'rth.

I love reading and read a wide range of authors. If you like being frightened to death, Dean Koontz is good.

If you like a good murder mystery with a bit of meat on the character so you might like them, try Kathy Reichs or Patricia Cornwall (both have heroines as archaeologists / pathologists).

Finally, for a light, perhaps better, bedtime read, with characters set in Ireland and family life intertwined around eachother, try Maeve Binchy - especially Light a Penny Candle and Echoes. Stories of friendships over many years and what unfolds.

There. That should keep you out of mischief for a while. ;0)

PixelPi said...

I'm echoing someone else's recommendation for Elizabeth George. Her works are brilliant.