Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Gifts for Readers

Books make great Christmas gifts (also Chanukah). I say this not only because I write books; there are few gifts that give so much entertainment for so little money.

Therefore I will recommend some favorites to you.

A good reference/advice book for mystery writers: Don’t Murder Your Mystery, by Chris Roerden. Terrific advice for the would-be-published, she also offers sound counsel for the experienced writer. Highly recommended.

For fun, I am dipping again into Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaimon’s Good Omens. The Apocalypse has never been funnier. The newest edition has a forward describing the authors’ encounters with some of the weird and ardent fans of this intelligent fantasy novel. I also recommend Gaimon alone and Pratchett’s Discworld series enthusiastically.

I’m not sure why, but I find Ngaio Marsh’s Overture to Death a comfort read. I get it out every few years and fall gratefully into its world for a few days – I read it slowly, savoring it. I like the locale and the characters, and the solution is perfect. My old copy was falling to pieces, literally, so I was glad to find a new issue of it at Once Upon A Crime mystery bookstore.

I feel the same way about Georgette Heyer’s Behold Here’s Poison. Though I dislike the sleuth, I like the other characters and the method of poisoning is brilliant. It and Overture are old, golden-age mysteries (1930s), and they give a glimpse into a world long-vanished as described by literate, gifted authors. (I love 1930s and 1940s movies for the same reason.)

Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond is wonderful -- a reasonable, accesible explanation for why Europe and Asia got so far ahead of the rest of the world in technology -- though the sequel to it is not.


Terri Thayer said...

My To Be Read pile grows every larger. Great post!

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Great list, Monica. Meanwhile have any of you visited this site?

I like their premise!