Treat Yourself to a Good Read Over the Holidays
The nice thing about the holidays, is the quiet time, where you can sit down and enjoy a little time alone with a good book, and maybe a nice cup of cocoa in the front of the fireplace (or perhaps more realistically as you read at the kitchen table, sipping a beer as Spongebob Squarepants drones on in the background). I read a lot more fiction this year than non-fiction--it's usually just the opposite. In fact the last few years, I've read very little fiction, so I'm a little behind on my favorite authors. Here's a few titles that stand out in my mind as being particularly good.
Charles Finch is definitely on my favorites list--terrific author. I've read two of his novels in the last few months (he has four at this point). His first novel A Beautiful Blue Death was nearly impossible to put down. His second book The September Society was a little different, and a bit slower paced, but well crafted. They're just great reads, especially if you enjoy the era of Sherlock Holmes--the foggy gas-lit streets of London. Finch weaves great stories. I hope he continues with these. Try him out.
You can hardly walk by a book rack without seeing Stieg Larsson's books. It took me some time to finally get around to reading it. So often books that receive that much hype are usually disappointing. I'd have to admit, it took me some time to get into The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and I'd nearly put it down before I finally got caught up in it. It did wind up being a very good book. It's a little longer than it needs to be, but it's worth the effort. I haven't read the other two yet, but they're definitely on my future reading list.
This is one of those cases where they made a pretty crappy movie out of an excellent book. And if you actually thought that movie was good, then read the book, because it's way better. Shutter Island is chilling, and impossible to put down from the first few pages. Some of Lehane's books I like, and some don't do much for me, but this one was outstanding. I just loved it, but it one of those books that's probably best to read over lunch rather than right before you go to bed.
This is a newer series by Michael Connelly. I finally got around to it. It's a great character, and a real departure from Harry Bosch--Mickey Haller is a defense attorney that truly believes in justice. The Lincoln Lawyer offers up a great plot, interesting characters, and all the twists and turns Michael Connelly is known for. A very quick read. You may remember this new character's name if you've read Connelly's Harry Bosch series--they're half-brothers. Harry and Mickey will eventually get together in a couple books as this series continues.
And C.S. Harris' Sebastian St. Cyr novels are good too. I was a little behind in the series, but I've caught up this year. I'd read the first two when they were originally released. I would have to say some of the books are better than others, but they are all well done and worth reading. Like Charles Finch's books, they take place in 19th century London.
This is the short list. I actually discovered a lot of new writers this year (at least new to me). I get stuck in a rut sometimes, but I did a pretty good job of expanding my horizons somewhat. If you try and like C.S. Harris, and Charles Finch, be sure to check out Will Thomas. His books seem destined for Hollywood. They are fast paced, action adventures. They are a little less realistic 19th century, and a little more escapist, bordering on the edge of what might be called steam punk fiction. It's a little bit like James Bond in Victorian England.
Enjoy your quiet time if you get any this holiday season.