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Monday, June 18, 2012

More What We’re Reading . . .

Earlier posts in February and March described some of the books we were reading then while sitting in our favorite chairs.

We’re still reading nightly — Grenville has been using his iPad to enjoy some FREE digital Kindle downloads from the public library (the selection is limited and as small as the library) and through an Amazon Prime membership. He’s found some police procedural mysteries and one dealing with two chefs and murder, perfect recipe?.

Drawing ConclusionsI’ve stayed with crime fiction/mysteries too, reading several of Donna Leon’s mysteries which are set in or around Venice and feature Commissario Guido Brunetti. Ms. Leon is a former NJ native, like ourselves though our paths haven’t crossed, yet. This series is now at 21 books since 1992 which have been translated into over 20 languages.

Ms. Leon lives in Venice and also is the Sunday Times crime reviewer. Her U.K. based  website provides more book details.

Recently, I read "The Limpopo Academy of Larger viewPrivate Detection," which is the 13th book in The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith, which feature Mma. Precious Ramotswe — Botswana's leading and only female private detective. If you’re looking for violence, murder or suspense, you won’t find them in this series. Mma Ramotswe solves cases using  her intuition, common sense, and moral values.

The books are easy reading; it’s best to read them in order to maintain continuity with the characters:

  • The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency
  • Tears of the Giraffe
  • Morality For Beautiful Girls
  • The Kalahari Typing School For Men
  • The Full Cupboard of Life
  • In the Company of Cheerful Ladies
  • Blue Shoes and Happiness
  • The Good Husband of Zebra Drive
  • The Miracle at Speedy Motors
  • Tea Time for the Traditionally Built
  • The Double Comfort Safari Club
  • The Saturday Big Tent Wedding
  • The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection

IMG_6183A complete change of pace for me has been reading James Patterson mystery/thrillers which always include unhealthy amounts of  violence, sex and murder— not unlike reading the news MOST days.

This photo shows recent Patterson book buys from local thrift stores, there are many, many more. These are for a road trip in mid-July (another one) and will make handy, and disposable, reading. After checking our finances, Grenville said we could afford the expense.

Lucky we didn’t have buy NEW. List cost of this group is nearly $85 (excluding tax). My cost = $2.63 (including 5% state tax).

Patterson’s books share so many similarities: light on plot, heavy on action, with very short (2-3 page) chapters. There’s no long, winding verse to think about and no messages. Sentences are simple and terse. These are page turners, not brain teasers, so don’t expect lots of descriptions or scene settings.

PERFECT to read 10 or more chapters before bed time !
Last week, I finished 2 library hardcovers within 3 days.

Many Patterson books are standalone thrillers; others are series: Alex Cross, a black crime-solving single father; Michael Bennett, a detective with the New York Police Department; The Women's Murder Club where four California women - a police detective, a medical examiner, a DA and a reporter - help each other solve crimes; Private, centering on a detective agency with worldwide branches.

Too many Patterson books to list here; find out more than you wanted to know at his website. Some quick facts (of so many):

  • Published his breakout book, “Along Came a Spider” in 1993 — less than 20 years ago.
  • Had over 50 New York Times bestsellers; 35  at No. 1.
  • Since 2006, one out of every 17 hardcover novels bought in the U.S. was written by James Patterson and/or a co-author.
  • In addition to 2 editors, Patterson has 3 full-time  publishing employees (plus assistants) devoted exclusively to him.
  • Is VERY prolific -  using a stable of co-authors, he’s published almost a book a month for the past few years.
  • Former ad executive who ran J. Walter Thompson’s North American branch before becoming a full-time writer.
  • Started as a junior copywriter and later become the youngest creative director in the firm’s history.
  • Created the ad slogan: “I’m a Toys ‘R’ Us kid.”
  • Doesn’t use a computer to write, but writes longhand on a  legal pad, then gives the pages to an assistant to type up.
  • Handles all his advertising and closely monitors nearly every step of the publication process, from jacket design to the timing of his books’ release to their placement in stores.

Patterson’s books may not be to everyone’s liking as I’ve read in many online reviews. But the books are quick reads, perfect for  entertainment or escapism; sometimes that’s all that’s needed.

Your turn — What are you reading lately ?

7 comments:

Anvilcloud said...

I just read two of Sue Grafton's, Kinsey Millhone mysteries. I hadn't read any for a long time, and kind of enjoyed getting back to them. One was very good IMO.

NCmountainwoman said...

Just finished "President's Club" and liked it. Enjoying "Let's Pretend This Never Happened," by Jenny Lawson. And just starting a first novel by a NC writer, Wiley Cash. It's "A Land More Kind Than Home" and got really good reviews. My reading always shifts to lighter during the summer. Winter is good for reading deep and disturbing by a warm fire.

Daisy said...

You read a lot of what is popular at our library, I think. Not too long ago, I read "The Help." I liked that one. Right now I'm reading one called "One Thousand Gifts." I'm really enjoying it too.

You might be interested in checking out a website called Pixel of Ink. It lists lots of free books to download through Amazon for the Kindle. I signed up for their daily email list.

Grammy Goodwill said...

I love James Patterson's books. Also Clive Cussler's. Just got his latest - The Storm - from the library.

Sandra said...

everyone be careful what you say here, I love Patterson and have read every single book he has ever written. i read for pleasure and love action and what i call 2 day books. i have even read some of them twice.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

AC, I've never read Sue Grafton, who also does the "alphabet" mysteries (A is for Alibi, etc.). I'll check her out on the next library visit, thanks.

NCmountain woman, I'm not familiar with any of the authors you are reading, but always looking for good read recommendations. I agree that lighter, no brainers, are great for summertime reading.

Daisy, thanks for the Pixel of Ink recommendation, we've bookmarked the site already. I started The Help but couldn't get into it. Yes I do check out the new books as well as what folks are reserving whenever I go the library, which is once a week for volunteering.

Pat (Grammy Goodwill) I admit to never having read any of Cussler's books but certainly am having fun reading Patterson's books.

Sandra, nope won't catch me badmounthing one of your favorite authors or is Patterson #$1 with you?

Mom A said...

Hey you all, thanks for the birthday card. Had a major minor surgery in May and am recovering very well. I learned how to use the Netflex and now spend time watching murder who dun its on line...love your posts.

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