Pleasures come in many forms, but for me one of the best is the thought of a pile of books by favorite and new authors alike just waiting for my attention, a situation I often find myself in after Christmas as books usually make up a substantial part of my wish list.
Some people binge on food; I binge on books. The addiction started in childhood. The local library was almost my second home and in my early teens I spent many an evening in the home of my next door neighbor, a retired lady who had so many books that, even when she died many years after moving in, she still had boxes and boxes of unpacked books stacked all over her house.
I have fond memories of us huddling over her small electric fire on cold nights, discussing the latest books I had borrowed, some of them very old, but all opening new worlds to me. Looking back I wonder where the addiction came from as neither my parents nor my four siblings were avid readers and apart from a set of the Encyclopedia Britannica there were relatively few books in the house.
"Fall of Giants" (Ken Follet), "The Given Day" (Dennis Lehane), "The Last Child" (John Hart), "The Last Coyote" (Michael Connelly) and "Faithful Place" (Tana French) all made my final list. But what about "Cutting for Stone" (Abraham Verghese), "Running Blind" (Lee Child) or "Secret Daughter" (Shilpi Somaya Gowda), to name just a few others? Most of these titles listed are comparatively recent, but Jane Austen, Ernest Hemingway, James Jones and Irwin Shaw would all certainly rank in my top 20 authors.
Getting to the end of a good book is bittersweet. You’ve enjoyed the read, but you're also hunger for more. There are books that I have been really sad to finish, mostly because one or more of the characters have lodged in my mind and I want to know more about them. Finding out they are part of a series is like getting another helping (if you are really lucky, several more helpings) of your favorite food. But even stand-alone books can leave you craving that author’s next book.
This year, I have "The Drop" by Michael Connelly, "The Bone House" by Brian Freeman and "The Accidental" by Ali Smith all beckoning, not to mention my first Kindle-bearing "Angle of Investigation – Three Harry Bosch Stories" by Michael Connelly. As much as I love print books and can’t imagine giving them up, I felt that since I published "Silent Lies" as an e-book, I really should have an e-reader myself. And it does have one overwhelming advantage. With a love of travel on a par to reading (one definitely stimulates the other), I rarely go anywhere without books. As a great believer in traveling light, I will no longer have to worry that the books outweigh the clothes!
Given I am always on the lookout for the next good read, I welcome suggestions if you have any personal favorites. Either comment below, join me on Facebook or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.