Saturday, January 17, 2009

A Good Read

I am and have always been a big reader. Sadly I have not made much time for reading lately. That is because reading usually requires buying books. For the last couple months I have been going to the library to feed my reading addiction. You can tell from the books below that I enjoy a wide variety.

I have read and enjoyed the Harry Potter series and am going to be borrowing the Twilight series from a friend who is reading it for the third time. I'm waiting to read the Bootleg Boys by fellow blogger Roland Hulme. I won a copy but the hubs got to it first. (Roland - the hubs started it Thursday and is already half way through and can't put it down).

I was turned on to Christopher Moore by my brother in law and just finished one if his books called "You Suck" about a nineteen year old guy who finds out his girlfriend is a Vampyre. If you are looking for something a little edgy and fast paced combined with interesting characters like a bumb with a thirty-five pound shaved sweater wearing cat, a call girl with blue skin and a bunch of night stockers at the local Safeway then this book is for you. I started it last night and finished it this morning.

One author I started reading in college is Clive Cussler. If you have seen the movie Sahara then you get a small taste of what his books are like. Whatever you do, read many of his books before you see Raise the Titanic. This film does not do his books justice and is the reason Clive waited twenty five years to let one of his books become a film again. I saw it years ago and have managed to put it out of my mind. Even though big name actors (Jason Robards, Anne Archer and Alec Guinness) are in the film it still stank.

His primary character is Dirk Pitt, a combination of Indiana Jones and James Bond in the modern day. A marine engineer who spends his time discovering shipwrecks, working on his notable classic car collection and trying not to get killed. He works for a fictitious government entity the National Underwater and Marine Agency (NUMA) and often finds himself embroiled in a mystery involving the sea "thwarting a large number of plans by villians intent on global catastrophe or world domination".

**************Spoiler Alert**************

One of the coolest things about his books is Clive will often take something that happened in history, rearrange it and place it in to the story. For example, the movie Sahara opend during the Civil war where a Confederate Ironclad escapes in to the fog on a river. In the book Sahara the Confederate Ironclad does indeed escape the same way but has a very important hostage aboard, President Abraham Lincoln. He was not assassinated in the theater but kidnapped.

Also, a part of the book that does not make an appearance in the movie is of Kitty Mannock, an Australian female aviatrix (a note to Amelia Earhart I'm certain) attempting a record breaking flight between London and Cape Town who crash lands in the Sahara. Later in the story Dirk and Al do cannabalize her plane to make a land yacht which you do see in the movie. I wish they had filmed the back story though.

Also, Clive has been known to put himself in his books. Dirk usually bumps in to him and for some reason seems strangly familiar but can't remember his name. Clive does put himself in this book and when I heard they were making it in to a movie I thought it would be so cool if he had a cameo. Sadly he did not.

**************Spoiler Complete **************

I was lucky enough to meet Clive with my husband and parents (who are also fans) when he was in town a few years ago. He has been writing his Dirk Pitt series since the 60's and has also written two other series as well as non fiction about his true life shipwreck discoveries through the real NUMA.

The NUMA files are a series of books with a new main character, Kurt Austin. The first story in the series involves the shipwreck of the Andrea Doria and a pre-Columbian antiquity hidden aboard. His other series is that of the OREGON files about a one-legged mercenary Juan Cabrillo and his operations ship the OREGON. "On the outside completely non-descript but on the inside packed with state of the art intelligence gathering equipment. A completely private enterprise, available to any government agency that could afford it." Run like and called The Corporation Juan and his company are usually hired out by peaceful countries with nothing but good in mind. Lastly he did write a new book that may or may not turn in to a series. It takes place during the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire. The lead character in this series is Isaac Bell, a wealthy person who spends his days as a detective on the hunt of a ruthless bank robber who blends in to a town then fades away unnoticed.


I have always loved mysteries. Nancy Drew was and still is one of my personal heroes. In particular I love cozies where I can get lost in not only the mystery but the series and characters.

"A cozy is a mystery which includes a bloodless crime and contains very little violence, sex or coarse language. By the end of the story, the criminal is punished and order is restored to the community. The character solving the crime is often an amateur sleuth who becomes involved because of personal reasons but it is also possible for the character to be a professional; police officer, medical examiner or private detective"

Some of my favorite cozy authors...

Cleo Coyle the pen name for married authors Alice Alfonsi and Marc Cerasini. They write the Coffehouse Mystery series about a woman, Claire Cosi who roasts coffee beans and runs the famous coffeehouse The Village Blend along with her ex husband, adventure junkie and coffee buyer, Matteo Allegro. Problem is, they always seem to get involved in murder. Quite a bit of coffee knowledge infused in to these tales set in New York City. Check them out and meet the other characters like Matteo and Clair's daughter Joy, a culinary student and Matteo's mother Madame Dubois who is determed to get Matteo and Clair back together again.

Madelyn Alt author of the Bewitching Mystery Series about a twenty something empath Maggie O'Neill who's just trying to understand her power and maybe find herself a serious steady boyfriend. Her boss, the owner of a store in their small Indiana town is ghosthunter extraordinare with a few witchy tricks up her sleeve.

Jill Churchill is the author of a couple mystery series but my favorite is Jane Jeffrey about a widow with three kids who along with her best friend and next door neighbor happens to stumble upon murder victims more often than not.

Finally there is Mertz/Peters/Michaels. This author/archeaologist writes under three names. Under the pen name Elizabethe Peters she writes her Amelia Peabody series. Amelia is a woman before her time. Striking off in to the sands of Egypt with her husband this series starts in pre WWI Cairo. Along with mummies and various buried treasures they dig up a lot of murder. The Jacquline Kirby series is about a librarian turned romance novelist. She's got moxy and a quick wit and she's not afraid to use her womanly charms to figure out who done it. Vicky Bliss is an art historian living in Germany who specializes in medeival Europe. The love of her life is a particularily devilish cat burgler with expensive tastes. Under the Barbara Michaels name she writes stories that have a somewhat gothic mysterious flair to them. She also writes non-fiction under her real name of Barbara Mertz.

One day in the not too distant future I hope to write a book of my own. I have a bunch of ideas rattling around in my brain that I just need to get on to virtual paper (word is my friend). That probably means sitting down at least a little every couple days and doing it.

So, what are your favorite books and authors?

3 comments:

beansntatersmama said...

Just do it girl. Get you a notebook and jot stuff down when the notion hits, when it's full you can go over and add or subtract. You can do it. angie

obsession of the week said...

looking forward to your book! I will have to read a Clive Cussler book or two. I don't know when though. Have a super day!

Roland Hulme said...

Aww! Thanks for throwing Bootleg Boys in there with so many astounding authors.

My wife has just started Moore's book 'Fool' and is crazy about it. I'm a big fan of Cussler, too. He writes exactly the sort of books I like - lots of history and sex and classic cars.

Good luck with your book. I found the easiest way to write is just to find some time to write a little every day - chip away at the wordcount and keep the momentum going and it'll get done in no time.

Stephen King is against plotting, which is something I've done religiously. He says stories are like fossils - writers don't 'invent' them. They merely 'discover' them and transfer them to paper. A good writer isn't creating his story. He's merely 'reading it' for the first time.

I'm not sure if I totally agree with that, but it's an interesting perspective.