Everything else in this blog is a book review, but for a change of pace I wanted to share a few thoughts. Obviously, based on the number of books reviewed here, I have no social life, never dust the furniture or clean the fridge, or wax the car (yeah, right), don't watch TV...books are where it's at for me. But scooping up the latest from the just-released shelves at the library (and at the rate I read, buying books is not possible) is kind of missing the point. So...next time you're at your public library, do what I do: take a stroll through the stacks and pick up an author you've never read or heard about before.
Here's a few of the authors I've "discovered" recently:
ROBERT HELENGA. I cannot praise this American author's idiosyncratic work enough. His characters just leap off the pages. He doesn't have a huge body of work but what I've read has been top quality, totally gripping, and all of it suitable for book clubs. Like Helenga, IVAN DOIG is another American writer you've probably never heard of, but his body of work is, in scope and feeling, gigantic.
JOHN HART, reviewed in this blog, writes "Southern novels". His first was no fun, but then he picked up speed and if you can stand tales with absolutely no humor, where almost everyone is PTSD (or ought to be) and secondary characters are wierder than anything Janet Evanovich ever dreamed up, all of it set in the Carolinas, then Hart may be an author you'll want to read. He's a good writer, but an exhausting one.
STEVEN SAYLOR is not, technically, a recent find. I've read this historian/author for years, and enjoyed every single book. Hell, I've grown old along with Gordianus! The series is set in the time of Catilina, Sulla and Caesar. Read in series, you've got the perfect syllabus for an ancient Roman history course. A similar author is JASON GOODWIN, also a historian but of the Ottoman Empire, who writes an enchanting series about Yashim the Eunuch, an investigator for the Sultan. They require more attention than some books, as Goodwin really knows his stuff and details abound.
DONNA LEON deals with modern Italy in her series set in Venice (where Leon lives) and starring Guido Brunetti, police detective, husband and father. All characters are fully fleshed-out, and the mystery is always timely and compelling. And then there's fabulous Venice as backdrop. There is also a cookbook but I haven't read it yet.
NIGELLA LAWSON, speaking of cookbooks, Eat This is perfect for the mildly-challenged cook who is either phobic with any recipe over 8 ingredients, or is time-handicapped. There's recipe for a sticky toffee pudding in here that'll become a mainstay...at least until you joinWeight Watchers.
DOROTHY L. SAYERS, and you probably have already heard of her but she was news to me, was the British writer who revolutionized mysteries. Most of her work was first published in the 30's but it still is gripping today. Nine Tailors will hold you spellbound; Gaudy Nights will keep you up an entire weekend.
ROBERT CRAIS, kick-ass mysteries mostly set in California, many starring Elvis Cole and his silent but deadly sidekick Joe Pike. These guys are good, the action is non-stop, the plots intricate.
KAREN ROSE, award-winning romance author, spins seductive yarns chock full of suspense that'll keep you on the edge of your seat. Explicit sex scenes not included, but there's enough romance to satisfy.most love bugs.
This is nowhere near my complete list but it ought to keep you busy for a while...ciao...Lee.