If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut.   –Stephen King, “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft”

Imagine reading Stephen King’s “Great Commandment” if you’re a writer. It’s  like someone saying to you, “Go ahead kid, eat all the candy you want.” It was a gift, my friends, an absolute gift. Like me, King reads mostly fiction…duh…because that is mostly what he writes. His very fine book on writing also includes a reading list.

I have a recommended reading list to share, one that hopefully will lift you out of the winter doldrums. I read a lot of mysteries, but mainly I enjoy good stories in just about any genre. Time to get reading!

The Ghost in the Machine by Caroline Graham. See “When you read a book” blog dated 2/22/2012.

V is for Vengeance by Sue Grafton. Grafton’s work has improved with time, gained in complexity. Her books are comfortable, reliably well-crafted, never disappointing.

I Am Half Sick of Shadows by Alan Bradley. Even with her passion for poisons, the young Flavia de Luce is one of the most delightful sleuths ever to grace a mystery.

A Rule Against Murder by Louise Penny. A dazzler in the Inspector Gamache series set in rural Quebec.

Faithful Place by Tana French. My favorite of all the books I read in 2011. French’s books are set in and around Dublin. Layered and nuanced Irish Noir.

Some more great recent reads: Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin; Hell Is Empty by Craig JohnsonState of Wonder by Ann Patchett; Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand; So Much Pretty by Cara Hoffman; The Paris Wife by Paula McLain; The Help by Kathryn Stockett; Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese; Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson; Just Kids by Patti Smith.

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