Books and Reading

Books and reading are a lifelong habit for me.  While not every book I read (mostly novels but some non-fiction as well) has lasting literary value, reading is a wonderful source of entertainment and pleasure. Toward the end of the calendar year, critics, writers, readers, and review publications select their top books of the year.  I took a quick look at some of these lists and selected a few of the titles I had read and enjoyed over the past year.  The Washington Post 2023 “Best” list included a category for mysteries and thrillers.  And sure…


So Many Books, So Little Time

Finding time and space to settle down and read a good book can be difficult, depending on one’s circumstances, but the phrase “so many books, so little time” has never seemed truer.  The quote is widely attributed to the late composer and musician Frank Zappa, and has been used on T-shirts, mugs, and other merchandise for decades.  The quarantines and shut downs over the past year and a half due to Covid turned people’s lives upside down.  For many, anxiety and stress challenged the ability to read for pleasure, and would-be readers turned to audio-books, podcasts,…


Landscapes of the Suspense Novel

Brooding landscapes are often a staple of the suspense novel.  In some cases, the shadowy, mysterious house at the center of a country estate is a key character.  Perhaps it is haunted by the ghost of a sophisticated, beautiful, deceased first wife.  Rebecca, by the late Daphne Du Maurier, is a modern classic.  Most suspense novels use scene to set a foreboding mood. Suspense novels In John Banville’s Snow (Handover Square Press, 2020), his first mystery novel written without a pen name, the setting is bleak rather than menacing.  A violent, desecrating murder takes place in…

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More About Books: Mystery and Suspense

Books and reading are among the most satisfying pleasures in life, and this year’s offerings are an inspiration to write more about books. Starting with Gillian Flynn’s wildly successful novel, Gone Girl (Crown Publishing, 2012), psychological suspense has grown as a popular book genre.  As an early fan of the works of Daphne du Maurier, including the classic, Rebecca, I am drawn to the genre, but have been disappointed by many of the contemporary novels. There is nothing disappointing, however, about novels written by Jane Harper.   Most recently I read The Lost Man (Macmillan, Flatiron Books,…

About Books and Reading
Bedside reading

About Books and Reading

Each year, I look forward to the fall months for news about books and reading.  Magazines, newspapers and trade organizations choose the fall to announce their selections for “best books” of the year.  It is a good time to compare our favorite books with these lists, hoping to add undiscovered gems to our reading lists. Many prestigious book awards also are announced in the fall.  The National Book Awards were unveiled in November; the Man Booker Prize was announced in October.  The publication of outstanding books and the awarding of prestigious prizes, however, are by no…

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