Again! I’m Unstoppable!

by Alexa on December 4, 2012

1. Perhaps it symbolizes the desire to fly free from the yoke of oppression.

When watching a television show/movie that features a scene with a Latino gang, I inevitably entirely miss the dialogue, so preoccupied am I with sartorial questions. Or rather one sartorial question: what is the appeal of a short-sleeved work shirt with only the very tippy-top button buttoned so that it makes a sort of cape-with-sleeves? A cape seems to strike a harshly formal note when paired with a white undershirt, and the buttoned collar looks awfully restrictive. I do not understand. Will one of the Latino gang members in the audience (Oh come on. There has to be ONE with a secret, shameful addiction to mommyblogs) explain it to us in comments, please?

2. Don’t put money on it, or anything.

I am going to keep doing this, posting three things, any three things I happen to think of, just typetypetypePOST, with no editing, every weekday for a while. I decided last month to start on December 1st, as sort of my own grown-up advent calendar, only with writing, and obviously continuing after Christmas, so…not really very advent-y, then. Anyway, December started on a weekend, so here we are. Or were, yesterday, and are again now. My god, I can’t believe I just have to leave all this up here. This is a very tough love (which I just typed “tough lough,” and then fixed, because I do have standards) approach to curing one’s crippling perfectionism. Does this count as one of my three things? I vote yes.

3. Reading is fundamentally dangerous.

I have started reading again, thanks to the Kindle app on my phone: I can read while I pump, and in dark middle-of-the-night snatches, and while I rock the baby, and it has reminded me just how terrible I am at moderation when it comes to this particular activity. Either I read very sparsely, taking ages and ages to finish a single book, or I read twenty in five weeks. There seems to be no middle ground at all. Frankly, the amount of pleasure it gives me, and the way I sometimes feel almost desperate to get back to my book seems unwholesome, and certainly there is some amount of escapism at play, and of course the time I spend reading might better be spent beating back the tide of household entropy, but I find I do not particularly care.

What I do care about is how difficult it is to keep myself in reading material, and what little time I have with whatever characters I have grown attached to before the pages run out. It is so sad being a fast reader. On the other hand, I really do not have the brain for difficult reading at the moment, seeing as I am getting almost no sleep, so the solution is one of quantity, not density. So: can you suggest some books for me? Anything, really. Fiction or Non. It doesn’t have to be particularly literary, though it may be. Lately I have been reading mysteries, partly because they often come in a series and then I have several books with the same character, which is cozy and comforting to a fast reader, so if you happen to be fond of mysteries, I would love suggestions.

Maybe I can recommend things for you in exchange? I should get to sleep now, but let’s chat more about this in the comments in the morning.

Leave a Comment

{ 140 comments… read them below or add one }

Jesabes December 4, 2012 at 11:11 pm

That is exactly why I read (often mediocre) mystery series…es (serieses?) – because I am a fast reader and am desperate for some continuity. I am headed to bed also and should have been an hour ago, but I’ll come back tomorrow and try to think of recommendations. What kind of mysteries do you like? Cozy? Super suspenseful?

Off the top of my head I’m thinking Tess Gerritsen’s Rizzoli & Isles for suspense and Katherine Hall Page’s Faith Fairchild series for cozy.

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Alexa December 5, 2012 at 1:39 pm

Well, my favorite mysteries are the Nero Wolfe canon and Sarah Caudwell’s Hilary Lamar books. Right now I am reading a series by Julia Spencer-Fleming that I am enjoying immensely. So I suppose they are all cozies? But I am up for anything, and I will try both your suggestions and report back!

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Dale December 4, 2012 at 11:28 pm

I read all of the Agatha Christies in one go earlier this year and it was glorious. She had several very clear styles she used, and after a while it was like wandering around a gallery thinking ‘Oh yes, this is her Blue period, I recognize the perspectives used here’ and they all merged into one mad English landscape littered with dead bodies and kind old ladies and Harlequins. So many Harlequins for some reason.

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Alexa December 5, 2012 at 1:43 pm

You know, I read all the Agatha Christies in junior high (was quite obsessed with Agatha Christie and Daphne DuMaurier), but haven’t reread them. I don’t know why–what a fabulous idea. There are about a million of them, as I recall. And “they all merged into one mad English landscape littered with dead bodies and kind old ladies and Harlequins. So many Harlequins for some reason” made me laugh out loud, so thank you.

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Davida December 4, 2012 at 11:54 pm

The Ladies Number 1 Detective Agency by Alexander McCall. Have you read it? Easy to read, about a Botswana woman detective. I think there are eight or nine books in the series.

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MJ December 5, 2012 at 9:34 am

I second the #1 Ladies’ Detective Agency stories (whatever order the words go in). They are very fast reads, very sweet stories, and very human characters. (Have I used “very” enough? I am hoping that the repetition is literary rather than lame.) Kind of like Miss Marple in Botswana. There must be over a dozen of the books by now. And it’s so nice to have you every day.

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Davida December 5, 2012 at 4:06 pm

Correction: the author is actually Alexander McCall Smith.

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dinei December 4, 2012 at 11:57 pm

Jasper Fforde; A.S. Byatt’s books from ‘Virgin in the Garden’ through my favorite ‘A Whistling Woman’ (it’s a cleverly disguised literary series!); and Simon Winchester.

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Alexa December 5, 2012 at 1:44 pm

Oh, I LOVE a cleverly disguised literary series.

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Chelsea December 5, 2012 at 12:27 am

I’m burning through The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman. Historical fiction always feels literary to me, but the magical realism makes me want to roll around in the story.

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Veronica December 5, 2012 at 12:41 am

I hate recommending books because I get all angsty about people judging meeeee (insert copious amounts of woe here) but I really enjoyed this series by a blogger friend of mine and I love that there was more than one book.

http://www.amazon.com/Killerbyte-Ellie-Conway-Series-ebook/dp/B004S3211G/ref=tmm_kin_title_0

I’m also a terribly fast reader, which makes me sad because then everything ends. Maybe if I just read half way through I could leave myself forever wondering, but then I spend all my time imagining characters instead which is exhausting. In any case, I adore Robin Hobb if you like fantasy type stuff (intrigue! court politics! mind bending powers!) and I’m currently reading something involving rippling muscles and scottish accents (don’t JUDGE ME, I read while I nurse and my brain is not up to difficult things) and a healer of some sort? Fluff, basically.

Um, yeah. Stream of consciousness. Sorry.

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Alexa December 5, 2012 at 1:51 pm

I get horribly angsty about same, which is preposterous. This is a safe space! I shan’t judge your rippling Scottish muscle books!

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Melissia December 5, 2012 at 1:41 am

I discovered P. D. James while I was in Scotland last summer. Excellent mystery writer that has stood the test of time and has written many books.

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Elise December 5, 2012 at 1:42 am

It should be embarrassing how very happy TWO back to back posts by you makes me! Yay! Being an incredibly scientific-minded lay person, I hope that you will love “The Immortal life of Henrietta Lacks”. Amazing book. Welcome back and your girls are darling!

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Bonnie December 5, 2012 at 4:17 am

‘All That I Am’ by Anna Funder is wonderful. I just finished it, and it’s one of the books you wish wouldn’t end so you could keep dipping back into it. Highly recommended.

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Lg December 5, 2012 at 5:53 am

How about a “cozy” mystery? The Diva series by Krista Davis is light but very entertaining. I love and miss the characters between books.

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JG December 5, 2012 at 6:29 am

Marion Chesney – aka MC Beaton. She writes (well, wrote, in the 90′s) these fantastically mindless Regency romances with just a bit of mystery. I have only just begun reading her but have swept through two series of six books each in about two weeks. It’s fun to track the characters through different books and watch their stories resolve. And when I say Regency Romance, I don’t mean 50 shades of Grey – I mean, the couple is lucky if they manage to sneak a kiss by the end of the book, which makes it a bit easier to read while you rock your innocent newborn baby!

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Cara December 5, 2012 at 6:57 am

Anything by Terry Pratchett. He’s prolific, and he’s fabulous.

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celia December 5, 2012 at 7:05 am

Rex Stout is amazing, and I have been reading him for decades.

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Alexa December 5, 2012 at 1:57 pm

This comment made me so excited, because my love affair with Rex Stout is very, very passionate indeed–and long-lived, as I think I read my first Nero Wolfe 20 years ago. I reread the whole series every few years (I just did it during the most miserably sick part of my pregnancy with Twyla, and I swear my beloved Archie Goodwin is what kept me sane), and I am slowly collecting pretty old versions of all of them to display on a shelf someday. Love, love, love.

You know, I never did read Rex Stout’s NON-Nero Wolfe books (Dol Bonner, etc.) Maybe I should try those…

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Louisa December 5, 2012 at 7:07 am

Tana French! She’s written 4, about the detectives of the Irish Murder Squad solving crimes and sorting through their personal lives. When I discovered them, I spent several days doing almost nothing but reading and wishing I was reading.

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Cris Martin December 5, 2012 at 2:14 pm

Second Tana French!! Have read all of them and enjoyed them all.

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Lynne December 5, 2012 at 2:41 pm

Third Tana French! I really like her writing style.

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Claudia December 5, 2012 at 4:02 pm

OK, I will FOURTH the Tana French but with a caveat: Her last novel, Broken Harbor, while brilliant, absolutely DEVASTATED me. I advise to stick to the first three for the near future.

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Alexa December 5, 2012 at 6:41 pm

So, it seems obvious that I am going to have to look into this Tana French person, as she has gotten more recommendations than anyone…

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Jen December 5, 2012 at 9:43 pm

Yes! I am still haunted by it, and I read it a couple of months ago. Utterly wrecking.

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maggie December 5, 2012 at 7:14 am

The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin. It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to lose myself in a good, modern day novel, but I could with this one. As in, wrote in the modern days, not set in. The Daisy Dalrymple series by Carrola Dunn. Set in the 1920s in England. Spunky heroine. Entertaining. Not too mind bending. Think summer beach read. And there’s enough books in the series to keep you covered until at least the New Year. And also Shirley Jackson. Mostly her funny stuff. Life Among the Savages and Raising Demons. The always classic Anne of Green Gables series. Anything by Gregory Macguire. You’ve probably read those….

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Alexa December 5, 2012 at 2:00 pm

These all sound promising, and I have read NONE of them, save the Anne of Green Gables, of course–which I haven’t read since I was very youthful and should really reread…

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Sheila December 5, 2012 at 7:17 am

I’m a similar reader – fast but can’t handle anything too deep right now – so I’ve been reading a TON of young adult books. Anything by Sarah Dessen, John Green, or you can pick up one of the many dystopian series that have come out since (or sometimes before) the Hunger Games. Bonus factor is waiting until the series is already done and then reading all three in a row instead of waiting. If the YA idea appeals to you, check out foreveryoungadult.com – their main site is a little weird lately but I love their long list of “book reports” which is a fun take on book reviews.

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Gina December 23, 2012 at 1:57 am

Love, love, love Young Adult novels. Great writing, but usually not too taxing on the brain. John Green is my favorite right now

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Al December 5, 2012 at 7:19 am

Henning Mankell…very good detective series

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Elissa December 5, 2012 at 7:25 am

I am also delighted to hear that you’ll be writing more here. Now that my youngest is sleeping a bit more I’ve been able to read more and love the feeling of getting back to my book-guzzling ways. I’ve also been running low on reading material so I would love recommendations of what you’ve been reading lately and look forward to getting more ideas from the comments here. So here are some books I have thoroughly enjoyed recently (some of which I’m sure you’ve already tackled):
The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach
Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran
The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls
Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson
The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

And here are a couple of older (and slightly obscure) favorites:
The Whistling Season by Ivan Doig
The Patron Saint of Liars by Ann Patchett

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Robin December 5, 2012 at 7:47 am

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay! Michael Chabon. It is so awesome, and it is LONG.

Ach, I feel the very same way about reading — now that I have a little more time for it, I’m gulping books (and articles, and movie reviews, anything, anything) with a ferocity I hadn’t expected. More more more!

“Household entropy” — YES. Exactly — and I think I will also use some tough love on my own perfectionism , but I’ll be saying it “tough lough” in my head.

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Leigh December 5, 2012 at 7:52 am

It’s not a cozy mystery, but I’m currently engrossed in The Presidents Club which is about all the former US presidents and how they get along with each other. It’s fascinating, I’m learning a ton of history, but it’s not a difficult or slow read at all.

I get most of my book recommendations from Goodreads; like you, I’m a fast reader and can plow through 2 or 3 in a weekend, ignoring housework and errands and the small people in my house. I think of it as setting a good example and encouraging their reading skills. :)

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HereWeGoAJen December 5, 2012 at 7:54 am

I’m not kidding, but you know what the first book that came into my head to recommend was? Half Baked, by that Alexa Stevenson person. Blog person, seemed like your demographic… But you’ve probably already read that, huh?

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Alexa December 5, 2012 at 2:05 pm

Um…no. I haven’t, believe it or not, not all the way through. (I KNOW! There wasn’t time! DO NOT EVEN GET ME STARTED.)

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Lizneust December 5, 2012 at 8:07 am

The Lord Peter Whimsey series by Dorothy Sayers, who was a contemporary of Agatha and I think a *much* better writer. I am also fond of Josephine Tey and anything by Ruth Rendelll. Happy reading!

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Alexa December 5, 2012 at 6:44 pm

LOVE Josephine Tey, and thus, alas, have read them all. The first Lord Peter Whimsey is actually on my Kindle right now to read after I finish my current selection, and I am pretty sure I am going to adore it. (Mystery with a touch of Wodehouse–YES PLEASE.) I will report back!

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Sarah December 5, 2012 at 8:09 am

I second the nomination for YA if you’re looking for something easy. The Divergent series by Veronica Roth is really great.

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Jen April 10, 2013 at 8:13 am

Yes! I loved Divergent and Insurgent.

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Jennifer December 5, 2012 at 8:15 am

I just read three books I loved: The Age of miracles, The Art of Fielding and The Newlyweds. All fantastic gripping books, each in their own way. Enjoy! Also, so glad to have more to read from you!

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Kelli December 5, 2012 at 8:16 am

Agree! Lord Peter Whimsey…there are several in a series by Dorothy Sayers.

And I too am delighted to see you are back in the proverbial blogging saddle!

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krlr December 5, 2012 at 8:21 am

You’re back! If you can ignore the HBO show, the Game of Thrones series. Long doesn’t even *begin* to describe them. I too read terribly fast, am depressed when books end, & took up blogs because in theory there’s always hope for a new post (a-hem). But these… I was under the impression it was a three book series and I think it was the first time I was a little relieved to be nearing the end – not because they weren’t good, but because by then I was living in squalor and the children were about to be removed from my care for neglect. Then I found out there are MORE books. Reading the fourth took up TWO int’l flights and a morning in the hotel not-sightseeing on a recent vaka.

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Gina December 23, 2012 at 2:00 am

I’d second Game of Thrones

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jen December 5, 2012 at 8:24 am

I am the same way. The other day my husband said something to me while I was reading (which, he should really know better by now) along the lines of “You seem really intent on reading right now.” Yes, Captain, I am, now shoo.

Anyway, I was actually re-reading the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. Oh another massive series that would keep you for a while is the Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin, though I have not read the latest book and the second to last one was tedious reading but the first three were very, very good after the initial 100 pages where I was so confused and couldn’t keep the characters straight. I also enjoy the Percy Jackson series of books or the Sookie Stackhouse ones when I’d like some reading candy…nothing like a potboiler to pass the time!

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Lynne December 5, 2012 at 2:47 pm

I also recommend Game of Thrones. The fourth book was the worst in series, fifth book definitely made up for it.

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robyn L December 5, 2012 at 8:35 am

I recently bought a bunch of used books at the library. From that stash, I’m currently reading “The Memory Keeper’s Daughter” by Kim Edwards, and really enjoying it.

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Jodi December 5, 2012 at 8:37 am

Mystery-like novels I have enjoyed recently: Mr. Peanut, by Adam Ross; The Yiddish Policeman’s Union, by Michael Chabon.

Also must recommend (as I do to anyone in my world who’ll listen) non-mysteries The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, and Why We Broke Up, by Daniel Handler & Maira Kalman. Both are nominally YA, you’ll read ‘em fast, but they’re excellent. Green’s novel is one of the best books of the year.

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Kendra December 5, 2012 at 8:45 am

William Bernhardt. His legal thriller/mystery series starts with Primary Justice and goes on for 18 books featuring lawyer Ben Kincaid. I loved every single one.

There is also Michael Connelly’s “Harry Bosch” series (19 books and counting). I haven’t read them all, but liked the ones I did. Though, I used to get frustrated at the editing, ’twas horrible in some books. I’d read with a pencil in hand and edit as I went (in my personally owned books of course).

I’m also a sucker for “chick lit” and eat up every single one of Nicholas Sparks books.

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Jen December 5, 2012 at 8:48 am

1. I went to high school with many Latino gang members, but never thought to ask them about the significance of the shirt-buttoning. Perhaps I should try to reconnect with some through Facebook and ask? (I do have an odd and fond memory of one such guy who, when required to give a “how-to” speech in our speech class, gave a very thorough and charming explanation of how best to roll a joint. The more you know!)
2. Books! I too love mysteries and devour them rapidly and shamelessly. Here are a few of my current favorite mystery authors, who have written series or multiple books:
Kate Atkinson, the Jackson Brodie series
S.J. Bolton
Elly Griffiths
Kate Morton
Zoe Ferraris
Allison Leotta
Malla Nunn
Martin Walker
Cornelia Read
Laura Lippman
Louise Penny
Laura Caldwell
Erin Hart
Alafair Burke
Cara Black
Jacqueline Winspear
Charles Todd
Rosamund Lupton
Julia Spencer-Fleming
Also, Sue Grafton and Sara Paretsky are always good, and very prolific. I like Marcia Muller’s books, and also those by Margaret Maron. The Spellman series by Lisa Lutz are fun and quick.

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Alexa December 5, 2012 at 6:47 pm

I have only read a handful of the mystery authors on your list, but the handful happen to be a few of my favorites, so I suspect we have similar tastes. (Actually, I am reading the Julia Spencer-Fleming series right now…)

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Brenna December 5, 2012 at 9:21 am

The Armand Gamache series by Louise Penny! Mysteries, beloved repeating character, and 8 books so far! Right up your alley. The Chet and Bernie series by Spencer Quinn is fun and quirky.

Not mysteries, but excellent books, The Road from Coorain and True North by Jill Ker Conway.

Annie Proulx has several books of short stories, those would be good for middle of the night snippet reading.

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Alexa December 5, 2012 at 6:51 pm

I just read all the Louise Pennys last month! I almost quit the first one because the author herself was annoying me terribly, but I eventually became besotted with Armand Gamache, and so stuck with it and was hooked in spite of myself. What did you think of the most recent one, particularly the ending??? Quite something. I had mixed feelings.

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Kristin December 17, 2012 at 5:54 am

I was going to recommend these and then saw this comment. I felt exactly the same way throughout the first book…I found it annoying, and almost stopped, but I’m so glad I didn’t. Gamache is one of the great heroes in literature. I think the books get better and better. The last one…I don’t know how I felt about it. Sad, for sure. Worried…ready for her to finish writing the next one! I also recommend Susan Hill’s series featuring Simon Serallier. I think it took her a couple of books to find her feet as a mystery author, but now I am thoroughly sucked in to her world. Be aware though–some of them will make you absolutely bawl. Have you ever read the Spenser series by Robert B. Parker? They definitely became repetitive after about book 15, but the first 6 or so books are lovely–fast paced, interesting, full of literary references and poetry–highly recommend them. I could go on forever about this topic, but I have to go to work!

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Ellen December 5, 2012 at 9:22 am

I am also a fast reader, it is nice but then books are over way too quickly. :-( I have really enjoyed the Sue Grafton/Kinsey Millhone series, I highly recommend them (A is for Alibi, etc..)

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Gerry December 5, 2012 at 9:39 am

I always recommend Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. Kinda a historical romance/time traveler thing. Her hero (Jaime) makes me swoon!

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Kerrie December 5, 2012 at 9:50 am

Faye Kellerman – she has a whole series of mystery/crime books. The main character is Peter Decker and in the first book he meets Rina Lazerus. The rest of the books cover 15-20 years of their life with different crimes in the main plot, but lots of personal development along the way.

I also highly recommend The Outlander Series – Diana Gabaldon. Lots of long, long, really interesting books with amazing characters. I really wanted to name my firstborn Jamie, but my husband vetoed it.

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marcoda December 5, 2012 at 9:55 am

I’m the same type of reader: fast, read for escapism, and love series due to character attachment. Ilona Andrews and Lisa Shearin are two awesome authors in the Urban Fantasy/Romance genre. Adventure, romance, mystery and lots of humor. I recently started the Princess Series by Jim C. Hines which is also fun. It’s an interested take on the fairy tale princess genre (Sleeping Beauty is a highly skilled martial artist.). The cover art is a bit cheezy but don’t let that stop you.

Hope that helps!

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Vanessa (Brock Rocks) December 5, 2012 at 10:01 am

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Cutting for Stone
Same Kind of Different as Me
Where We Belong
Drowning Ruth
What Alice Forgot
On the Island
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Under the Overpass
Unbroken

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Rebecca December 6, 2012 at 11:04 am

Are you a member of MY bookclub???

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Whitney December 5, 2012 at 10:04 am

The JD Robb “In death” series. She publishes at least 2 books a year, they are SO good, and all center around the same set of characters.

So so so good.

Seriously. Guilty pleasure.

I say “you are welcome” in advance :)

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Jamie December 5, 2012 at 10:06 am

The Flavia de Luce books are fun if you’re on a mystery kick. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie is the first one in the series.

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Andrea December 5, 2012 at 10:08 am

Anything by Terry Pratchett.

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Norah December 5, 2012 at 10:18 am

I just finished In Cold Blood. It’s RIVETING and sad and scary. But RIVETING and the second best book I’ve read maybe ever. Lonesome Dove is probably the best book I’ve ever read. Funny, I have no interest in Westerns or Murders, but there you have it.

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Sheila December 5, 2012 at 10:23 am

Yes! It is SO good to have you back — and happy reading. I second the reccomendations for the Ladies #1 Detective Agency…they make you feel so good abour people…and also The Fault in Our Stars, that Jodi mentioned. It’s a not-to-be-missed book! And I love Sue Grafton (If you haven’t read her, the books start with A is for Alibi, and continue to V is for Vengeance, so you’ll have a good supply as we wait for “W” Now, enjoy your books, but please never stop writing!

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Sharon December 5, 2012 at 10:25 am

For pee your pants funny mystery, the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. Starts with One for the Money and goes to 18 so far…

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kathleenicanrah December 5, 2012 at 10:42 am

Book recommending is one of my favorite things ever..in fact one sentence into your item #3 I had to skip ahead to be sure you wanted recs, as I was going to want to do that anyway. Book recommendations combines my bossiness with my love of reading, and is therefore what I want to do all the time.
Books: (I would write out descriptions, but you have amazon. Needless to say, these are Good Books)
Rules of Civility (my favorite book of the year)
American Wife
Prince of Tides
Wild

Enjoy! And yes, would love your list as well.
The Paris Wife

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Sara December 5, 2012 at 10:46 am

I’m a school librarian so most of the books I recommend are for kids, but honestly these days I find the books for middle school and young adults the best solution for a tired mom brain. The stories are great but you don’t get bogged down by a bunch of adult detail. Try Wonder by R.J. Palacio or The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate, or anything by Kate DiCamillo – The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane being my all time favorite. If you like fantasy the Fablehaven series by Brandon Mull is really fun to read.

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Alexa December 5, 2012 at 6:54 pm

Kate DiCamillo writes all of Simone’s favorite books (The Mercy Watson series, Bink and Gollie, and our old favorite Louise), so I think I will have to try The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane…

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Gina December 23, 2012 at 2:08 am

It is excellent, is is The Tale of Despereaux (the movie was not so good.)
Wonder was one of my favorites of the year, as was The Fault in their Stars.
Gary D. Schmidt is another great YA author. The Wednesday Wars is my favorite of his.

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Candy December 5, 2012 at 10:54 am

You’re inspiring me to do the same now. I haven’t blogged with regularity in 2 years and I do miss it, but I can’t seem to jump back in. Maybe just jumping for jumping’s sake is the answer.

As for books – here’s a few I’ve read lately that I enjoyed. I heartily recommend the Hunger Games trilogy. The movie is blech but the books (1 and 2 in particular – 3 has gotten mixed reviews) were quite wonderful.

All of the Dennis Lehane books, although I particularly have enjoyed Shutter Island and his newest, Live by Night.

I also have enjoyed Gillian Flynn quite a lot, although her last book, Gone Girl, was – well – difficult to review. Some loved it, some hated it. I’m somewhere in the middle, but still, I enjoyed the read.

And if you really want to read a series, do read the Harry Potter books. They are not just for children.

Finally, I have recently become addicted to Goodreads. It’s a great site where people who read review books, and it recommends books based on what you’ve read before. I consult it every time I buy a new book.

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Cathy December 5, 2012 at 10:55 am

Do you know E. F. Benson? ‘Cause you seem like a Mapp & Lucia kind of person. They’re studies of Napoleonic megalomania set in between-the-wars English village life.

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Alexa December 5, 2012 at 6:55 pm

You know me well. I am indeed a Mapp & Lucia kind of person :)

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Cathy December 5, 2012 at 8:10 pm

It’s a terribly good kind of person to be, of course.

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Liz December 5, 2012 at 10:55 am

You MUST read Tana French’s books! The writing, she is gorgeous. Love. And: set in Ireland! Also read the Maisie Dobbs series: British mysteries set between the world wars, with a female investigator protagonist! I too am a fast reader. On a ompletely different tack, I love “Pure” by Juliana Baggott. it’s a dystopia novel with teenage protagonists., and it’s excellent. I remember thinking as I read, “This is nice and thick, good!”.

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Martha December 5, 2012 at 10:56 am

I can’t tell you just how thrilled I am by the post, and its promise of more!

My husband and I both recently enjoyed J. K. Rowling’s “The Casual Vacancy.” Also, because they came free with my Kobo e-reader, I got into the Tarzan series this past summer. I’ve read five of the 25 books. I may go back for more, though likely not the whole roster. They were a fun read. Then a friend recommended the Scarlet Pimpernel novels, which were available for my e-reader for just pennies, and were a great escape (for me and the French nobility!). I wish there’d been more. I’m now on my second Wilkie Collins novel, “No Name.” (Also read “The Woman in White”) His entire works I also got for next to nothing. Collins was a contemporary of Dickens and quite a prolific writer. I’ll be reading more of him, I’m sure. And smattered throughout, I’ve started re-reading all of Jane Austen’s novels. There is so much great vintage stuff, it’s hard to find time for the new!

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Martha December 5, 2012 at 11:03 am

And, oh, I didn’t mention Jasper Fforde – especially the Thursday Next and Nursery Crime series. The newer Dragonslayer series for young adults is just okay, but I’m anxiously awaiting the next book in the Shades of Grey series (not to be confused with “Fifty Shades of Grey.”).

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