Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Bathroom/bedtime reading bleg

I got home last night at 9pm to find that someone had left the last novel of the Stieg Larsson trilogy at my door. I said, "Well, I'll just read one chapter and then go running and head to bed." I finished the book a few hours later.

So now I need recommendations, people. What I'm looking for: decently written contemporary prose, absorptive plot. I tend to like spies and capers and thrillers and mysteries, and not so much relationshippy books. Stuff that will provide a diversion from the intensity of working on the book, but still with enough substance and style that I can look myself in the eye the next day. I've recently liked Mankell. Chabon. Eco. I laughed out loud many times reading _The Financial Lives of the Poets_. I love much Richard Russo, and read _Straight Man_ every year, as a ritual. I liked _The Rule of Four_ in a geeky way, and also _Dr. Strange and Jonathan Morrell_ (I think I'm getting that title wrong/backward, though.)

I've never read J.S. Foer, or D.F. Wallace, or J. Franzen, because they all seem to have a faint aura of pretentiousness around them, which I may be wrongheaded in perceiving. I'm willing to be talked into them if anyone wants to make a case.

Really, I just need to have something besides criticism to ease me into sleep. What have you got, people of the interworld?


Lisa B. said...

I love that Icelandic guy--Arnaldur Indridasen. Also that French gal--Fred Vargas. I have read both of them top to bottom and now just wait around for them to write new novels, and not all that patiently, either.

Fie upon this quiet life! said...

How about Twilight? haha. Just kidding.

Well, it's not Chabon by any means, but have you read "The Hunger Games" series by Suzanne Collins? They are being marketed at young adult books, but they are highly political, and, to me, almost as good as 1984. There are three books in the series, and all are quick, easy, but blow-you-away reads. Go forth and buy!

Leslie said...

I'm a total mystery geek and love Mankell. Have you read the Maisie Dobbs mystery series? I think the author's name is Winspear. Totally fun.

Quieter and lovely are the Louise Penny mysteries set in a small town in Quebec.

Then for a little more brain food with your mystery there is P.D. James. Oh, I do adore the divine Ms James. Her protagonist is a poet/detective who won't really talk about his poetry. Ha.

And if you've never read Martha Grimes, I love her. Early Richard Jury mysteries are terrific, but so is the series that starts with The Hotel Paradise--about a kid asking the wrong people the wrong questions to "solve" a decades old mystery. She waits table at the family pile and walks around with the local sherrif chewing Teaberry gum. Fun escapist stuff and well written.

Last but not least, Eliot Pattison whose detective is a Han Chinese imprisoned in Tibetan work camps who hangs with Buddhist monks. These are some of my favorite mysteries ever.

Leslie said...

Oh and Colin Cotterill, whose detective is an 89-something Laotian doctor who becomes the national coroner. These are hilarious and lots of fun and you learn something about Laos.

Dr. Write said...

I second Lisa's Icelandic recommendation. He's my favorite, by far. Better than Mankell or Larsen.
I also recently read In the Woods by Tana French and couldn't put it down.
I also loved the Hunger Games trilogy. Very engaging and a fast, fast read.
Also for geeky fun, the Jane Austen mysteries. They are not great, but super fun.