Its another cold day, with a dusting of snow. The roads were in pretty good shape this morning though, so that was nice. The heater in my truck isn't working, which is not nice. My toes were frozen when I got to work (okay, they felt frozen!), and I had to take off my shoes and put my toes practically on the space heater. I have a serious case of winter blahs. Serious.
So, on that note, since nothing else strikes my fancy, I've decided to talk about a few of my favorite authors. Readers, you may not know this, but I'm a serious book-alcoholic. I'd rather read than watch t.v......although sometimes I try and do both. I will read just about anything that is in front of me. Magazines, books, newspapers. Over my life time, I've went through phases of what types of books I like to read. Always animals stories--I've read and re-read James Herriott until I know most of the stories by heart. I'm always looking for good animal stories---ones featuring vets being favorites. Of course when I was a kid, I think I read all the horse and dog and cat stories out there, and there were a lot of them, back then. Most very sad and gut wrenching. (i.e. Black Beauty, Blitz, Beyond Rope and Fence) Sometimes I still read kids books, because I like the simple plot lines and stories. In high school I went through a stage of reading westerns. My sister got several bags from someone, and that just gave me more fuel. I loved most of them---Max Brand was a particular favorite, as well as Louis L'Amour, Zane Grey (I even named a cat after him--a GIRL cat....), and someone with the last name of MacDonald.... I also read a lot of Harlequins in high school--that was before they went the way of being so trashy. Some of them were quite good, with exotic settings of Australian sheep ranches and such. ;-) I've never gotten into the 'romance' books that litter garage sales around here. I need a little more plot line than that, thank you!
I like novels that are well-written and have a setting or plot line that I'm interested in. Sagas usually don't do much for me, but I've read a few I've enjoyed over the years. I recommend the novel "How Green Was My Valley" which is very hard to get into but worth the read once you get past the first few chapters.
I've read alot of Christian fiction, but am only impressed with a few authors. Very few people can weave in a strong faith plot line without becoming preachy or outright silly sounding. My favorite authors of Christian fiction are Dee Henderson, Terri Blackstock, and Francis Rivers (who either can write stunningly well or....not....) I think there are alot of books written in this market that are sub-standard just because there is such a demand. Of course I tend to think there are an amazing amount of books out there in all classes that had no business making it past the editors! :-) I used to force myself to finish a book even if it was horribly written, but now I give it my best shot and if it doesn't click for me, I move on. I've read a few books that were so horrible, evil, stupid etc. etc. that I have trashed them.
I've been in my 'mystery' phase for many years now, and think that I probably won't outgrow it. :-) I love a good mystery, but I'm pretty particular in what I really like. An author that can weave together a good plot line, plus present regular people in their regular lives in an interesting and believable way is a must. Humor is just an added bonus. I don't care for slapstick, exaggerated humor, but love it when its subtle and works off everyday situations and events. I would like to say that the books I read are pristine in the language they use and some of what I call 'scenes' but they aren't. I frown on a main character that has a filthy mouth, but will tolerate some of that in a minor character. I just skip over it and continue on. Same way with the obligatory 'scene' that most books have to put in there at least once. Most of the authors I read know that people have a good imagination and leave it at that--they don't feel the need to spice things up too much. I am always amazed when a 'secular' author can bring faith and God into the situation in a believable and understandable way.
Okay, now....here are my favorite authors---I have more, but these are the 'top' ones that I keep most of their books.
Tony Hillerman---I love his Jim Chee mysteries. This man (in my opinion) is an awesome writer. His books are for the most part set in the Southwest and his main characters are Navajo tribal policemen. His glimpse into their culture is fascinating, his characters are flawed, 'normal' people who are always goofing up a little. He inserts subtle humor throughout. His descriptions of the setting puts you right there without beating you to death with it. If you decide to read Hillerman, start with his earlier books, as his last few have not been up to his excellent standards. This guy is great.
Elizabeth Peters, aka Barbara Michaels, aka Barbara Mertz. This amazing lady has a whole slew of books out there! My favorites are the ones she writes under Elizabeth Peters that are about "Amelia Peabody" and her family. Amelia and her husband are archaeologists in Egypt around the turn of the century (late 1800s). The mysteries are good, the plot line interesting, the culture fascinating and the books are hysterically funny at times. Peters has written a lot of other books as well, that usually will take you to another country and give you a glimpse of what its like there. Her characters are funny, flawed and very human. Her books under the Barbara Michaels name are very good too, but tend to have 'darker' undertones. Sometimes down right creepy.
I also like JA Jance (not all of hers though), Robert Crais, Steven Havill (very tame little mysteries set in the southwest featuring members of the Sheriff's Dept.--but the characters are strong and interesting and you find yourself getting involved), and Stephen Booth (these are sometimes very graphic, but that man can sure write! They are set in Britian). Sharyn McCrumb also has some very haunting well written books set in the Smokey Mountains.
Anyway, that's just a few.....I love finding a new author that I like, that has bunches of books already published! :-)
Find a good book and have a great day! (Oh, and if you have some good authors/books to share, please do! I'm always on the hunt!)