FROM THE RIVER BANK…An Occasional Newsletter
By Kay Jennings
Topic: What I’m Reading Now – August 1, 2020
Even before I was a published author, friends regularly asked me for reading recommendations. So, to kick off this newsletter, I’d like to share some new-to-me authors and some old friends with you.
My reading tastes run to fiction, sprinkled with an occasional non-fiction like ‘Becoming’ by Michelle Obama – whether you love her or not-so-much, the book is a terrific read. For fiction, I gravitate to mysteries and thrillers because I like to keep up with the best writers in my genre. I’m often inspired by them, sometimes depressed by their brilliant writing, and fess up to ‘borrowing’ an idea once in a while.
My definition of ‘mystery’ is broad, and includes books like last year’s ‘A Gentleman in Moscow’ by Amor Towles, which was one of my favorite reads of the past few months. The story was so unexpected, and the writing is beautiful in every single paragraph. I also loved his first novel ‘The Rules of Civility’, which I read after ‘Moscow’. Some of my author friends didn’t like ‘Rules’ as much, but I really enjoyed reading it. Towles is now in my whatever-he-writes-I-read category.
I belong to an online British book club, as I’m a sucker for a good British mystery, and have discovered a surprising number of wonderful British authors I’d never heard of previously through member recommendations. My current favorite is Elly Griffiths’ Ruth Galloway mystery series. I was instructed to read them in order, which I’m doing, and advise the same to you. If you love a complicated (some might say flawed) female protagonist, and a rugged English setting, this intelligent series will be nirvana to you.
Before I go any further, I have to ask you: You’ve read all of Louise Penny’s Armand Gamache series, right? If not, stop reading this newsletter, and get ‘Still Life’, the first book in this penultimate series. While Penny’s books do tend to be more stand-alone, if you’re just starting (lucky you!), I would read these in order as well. And, you should sign up for Penny’s monthly newsletter, too – it’s always informative.
Additional authors to look for in the mystery/thriller category are Tana French, Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling), Ann Cleeves, Martin Walker, and Daniel Silva. I have lots more, but this will get you started in fine fashion.
Now, you tell me what you’re reading!