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January 25, 2012


Kelly Saderholm

Hey! I posted earlier and its gone. :(

Anyway I love this post and am spending some time thinking about the different lists- love that last category of "Read this 'cause I said so!"

A great starter list would be to read any one book from each of the ladies on this blog.

Donna Andrews

Working on my list, Dana. But did I ever mention how I HATE boiling the whole of a genre down to a tiny little list?

I'm working on the classics. Christie's Murder on the Orient Express? Death on the Nile? Or The Murder of Roger Ackroyd? Or one of the Marple books? Sayers--Murder Must Advertise or Gaudy Night? The Maltese Falcon for Hammett, I think, and Chandler's The Big Sleep. Mustn't forget R. Austin Freeman--perhaps The Red Thumb Mark? Poe's Murder in the Rue Morgue. I'd go for the collected Sherlock Holmes. And Collins's The Moonstone. And Poe's Murder in the Rue Morgue. And...

Damn, I think I've already outlined a couple of months of reading.


Thanks for persisting, Kelly! And--thanks! Yes, the Femmes' books definitely fit under many of those headings, and I think "because I said/because it's cool!" has to be there, because that's how the enthusiasm starts.

Donna, it's a wonderful, EXCRUCIATING puzzle, and one I've always tried to avoid. But since we all end up being a personal reference for a lot of folks, it's a useful exercise. And it does send one scurrying back to the library!

Donna Andrews

And why does it always send us scurrying to the library when we ought to be scurrying to the computer to work on our own books???


Quite rightly observed, Donna! I can only imagine it's the reason we got into writing in the first place: reading!


I wouldn't try to come up with a list of what I considered the best to try to woo a reader of another form, I would look at what the person reads now, and find something somewhat compatible with it in the genre I wanted her to consider. If she reads literary, for instance, I would show her a good literary mystery, rather than a more category one, even if I considered the latter a more outstanding choice. I've learned as a bookseller that if someone doesn't read genre novels, what I consider great usually leaves them cold.


This is harder than I thought. :)

History Mysteries:
Morality Play by Barry Unsworth
CJ Sansom's series
The Black Tower by Louis Bayard

Comfort Reads:
Louise Penny
Jacqueline Winspear

Colin Cotterill's two series

Golden Age:
Josephine Tey
Edmund Crispin

Hardboiled and Pulp:
Ken Bruen

Funny Brits:
Liz Evans' PI series
Don't Point That Thing At Me by Kyril Bonfigliolo

Just Plain Brilliant:
Bucket Nut by Liza Cody
Pictures of Perfection by Reginald Hill, and most everything else he wrote


You're right, Kris--it's one thing to get someone hooked, and quite another to introduce a genre via a lecture!

It is hard, isn't it, Mary, but what a list you have!

Hank Phillippi Ryan

Cannnnot compete with MAry;s list: but how about LIfe-cahnging books?

The Once and Future King
by TH White
Winters Tale by Mark Helprin
Look Homeward Angel by Thomas WOlfe
Bonfire ofthe Vanities by Tom Wolfe
Custom of the Country by Edith Wharton (or maybe House of Mirth)
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote



Oooh, I like that list, Hank! The T.H. White would be on my list, and Edith Wharton damn near the top! "Hamlet" or "The Merchant of Venice." The BONE PEOPLE, by Keri Hulme. BUSMAN'S HONEYMOON, by DL Sayers. Hmmm...

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