Favorites

It is daunting to even suggest a list.  Here goes, and there will be more.

To Kill a Mockingbird.  Harper Lee. I can still envision the world through Scout's eyes.

The Harry Potter books -- pretty much all of them. J.K. Rowling.  Often in the later books there will be a character or action that sounds vaguely familiar, and I'll realize it was mentioned in an earlier book.  Anyone remember Hagrid used Sirius Black's motorcycle to pick up Harry in book 1?  The subtle foreshadowing is masterful.  Plus, they are darned funny. 

Middlesex.  Jeffrey Eugenides.  I listened to this book during a long car ride and the combination of the prose and the reader created a series of vivid images.  To this day, when I get to Chapter 11 of any book, I think of Middlesex.  You'll have to read it to find out why.

Just One Season in London.  Leigh Michaels.  Leigh (a friend as well as a good read) moved into historical romances a few years ago.  This one has three story lines that merge perfectly.  She paints London and the time period well.  Also a lot of humor and a couple good twists.  She'd be a good mystery writer.

Children of Men.  P.D. James. A spooky future world in which women suddenly stop having babies -- first noted in obstetrician offices when there were no new appointments.  There are so many layers -- how people react to what appears to be the end of the race, how to survive in a much lonelier world, what the heck happened to humans that we no longer reproduce, many more.  Ultimately, there are good guys and bad guys, and you pull for the good guys.  (Or, I did.)  Descriptions of scenery are terrific -- imagine roads almost overgrown.

In the Woods.  Tana French.This is the first of an interrelated group that features Irish homicide detectives.  It's way more than a mystery.  French has you in the hearts and minds of her characters, Rob Ryan and Cassie Maddox. You'll want to pay for therapy for Rob so he learns how to manage his life -- in the homicide unit and as he ponders his past tragedy and current love.

Two series by M.C. Beaton.  The Hamish Macbeth series is set in the Scottish highland town of Lochdubh and features a constable who wants to continue serving that area rather than being promoted to a larger town. I've read perhaps twenty of these. The Agatha Raisin series features an amateur sleuth, recently retired and bored by life in the Cotswalds village she chose for her new home. It's interesting to see how differently someone who is supposed to investigate crimes can approach a solution as opposed to someone who is considered a busybody. Plus, Agatha's is a very self-centered person--kind of hard to like. Beaton does have both characters follow a lot of false leads--very cleverly.

Margaret Maron's Deborah Knott series, which starts with Bootlegger's Daughter. Set in rural North Carolina, the books capture the community aura. They often feature a craft or industry (such as pottery or furniture), though sometimes there is more background than a reader needs. The first book remains my favorite, and I also especially like Rituals of the Season and Winter's Child. The books do not need to be read in order, but because Deborah's life evolves, it would be better to start at the beginning. It would also help you keep track of her extended family of older brothers, their spouses, and children.

Carolyn Haines writes wonderful mystery series, set in the south. The Sarah Booth Delaney series places the modern-day protagonist by that name in her family's mid-19th century home in the Mississippi Delta. Them Bones is the first book. Mobile, Alabama is the setting for The Book of Beloved first of the Pluto's Snitch series, and these books take place in the early 1920s. I don't usually read much in either of these time periods or locales, and I cannot put these books down. Both series have a paranormal element (especially The Pluto's Snitch series), which I also generally don't read. So with all those "I don't usually read" comments, you know these are good.

1 comment:

  1. Middlesex also one of my favorites.

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