I once listed every book title I read over a year, and placed them under Fiction or Non-fiction headings. If you had asked me, I would have guessed I read more fiction than non-fiction, but actually it was about 50/50.
I’m curious about your reading preferences. Do you read only one genre, like mysteries or science fiction? Are you more eclectic, and read everything from literary novels, to history, to thrillers? One person told me he reads only non-fiction because reading fiction was “a waste of time.”
I believe we can learn much from all kinds of literature. For example, a literary novel takes a character from one state of mind, set of behaviors, or world view to another, hopefully better, paradigm. The character evolves through life lessons, challenges, and growing insights. I may not have walked his walk, but by the end of the novel, I may have learned more about life as the protagonist faced one challenge after another.
Although not a mystery fan, I do enjoy Agatha Chrisite because she places her novels in England. “Place” can be as important as a character or plot point. It effects the way the characters respond to their situations because we are all products of our environment and culture. If written well, the author puts me in a foreign location I may never have the opportunity to physically visit. I have never traveled to England, but am fond of British culture. At one time, I read only novels by British writers.
It is amazing what you can learn by reading fiction. Years ago, when I was working in the hospital, the nurse, giving us an update on each patient during change of shift, said a certain patient was confused. She knew that because the woman kept asking to go to the “water closet.”
“No, she’s fine,” I said. “Water closet is the British term for bathroom.”
I love other British expressions such as: having a “toes up” is taking a nap; a “chin wag” is a conversation; being at “sixes and sevens” means one is confused or overwhelmed; and being “sent to Coventry” means you are in trouble and will be punished. (I don’t know why being in Coventry is a considered a bad thing. Maybe my British friend, Glen, can tell me.)
The last fiction book I read was The Relic Master by Christopher Buckley. The book’s cover was Medieval in style, so I knew it would be about the thriving market for relics during the Protestant Reformation. I was familiar with the Reformation, since Church history is one of my interests. The author’s past books have been contemporary satires of current politics. According to the book jacket, Buckley changed focus and ventured into history, the 16th century to be exact, and found “splendid material and characters, some of whom actually existed.”
Although the main protagonist, Dismas, is fictional, his adventure involved historical figures such as the painter Albrecht Duer (his partner in crime), Archbishop Albrecht, and the Elector of Saxony, (Friedrich the Wise, who protected and supported Martin Luther). Greed, art forgery, murder, theft, and a love interest kept me turning pages to the end.
What are you currently reading? What kinds of books hold your interest and why? Is there a book you would recommend? What must a novel have to have to keep your interest? What are your pet peeves? How likely are you to purchase a book, rather than check it out from the library, and why?
I read, on average. About 40 books per year, a mix of fiction/non-fiction. I like WW II history and baseball books. My favorite author is/was Jack Higgins.
Hi, Suse! I am currently reading “The Woman in the Window” by A.J. Finn, kind of a modern take on “Rear Window”. I generally like fiction, but have read Michelle Obama’s bio, where I found we had many similarities growing up.
My all-time favorite is mysteries and detective novels. I highly recommend authors such as Louise Penny, whose Armand Gamache is Inspector General of the Surete Québécois. Her characters are just plain delicious, you’ll see what I mean.
Because you are an Anglophile, go for Elizabeth George’s Inspector Lynley series, also highly developed in the character department. This was a PBS series way back before I started her books. Also I recommend Mark Billingham, a Brit whose lead detective Tom Thorne is a flawed, yet gifted investigator.
Of course medical examiner novels such as those by Patricia Cornwell and Kathy Reichs are intriguing. One of my very favorite authors is John Sandford , who writes the “Prey” novels, starring Investigator Lucas Davenport, and sometimes his associate Virgil Flowers. There is always a thread of humor in the conversations, which are also very real. These novels, to me, are “purchase-worthy”! But right now I really miss my library!
Other authors I love include J. A. Jance, Catherine Coulter, John Grisham, David Baldacci… I can go on, but you get the idea. All I can tell you is, I get nervous if I don’t have at least two books waiting for me when I finish the one I’m currently into.have at least two books waiting
Have read all kinds of books all my life–but strangely enough,I didn’t actually think about writing a book until I began reading Christian-based novels. Then I thought perhaps I could write one as well. Suddenly a whole new world of ideas opened up, and I was further given a very clear direction and Purpose in mind–(something I didn’t read often: to write Historical Women’s Fiction). Always amazed at how the Lord works things work out.
Hi Sue,mysteries are my favorite and like you,anything British. Peter Robinson,Margaret York,Ruth Rendell,Ian Rankin all favorites . I just finished- Meet Me atThe Museum by Anne Youngson-really good although not a mystery. I miss my libraries so much,the books and the people.
I miss libraries too….and friends like you!Maybe I can find Meet Me at the Museum for my Kindle (which currently has 190 books on it LOL)