Read Any Good Books Lately?
How did you find out about your last great read?
Did you close your eyes and point? Did you read the spine of the book that the person sitting opposite you on the bus was holding? Or did someone you respect recommend a book that you couldn’t put down? We asked our Facebook community how they picked their last book and a recommendation from a friend came up trumps as being worth its weight in gold when selecting their next read.
Who would know best what book is unputdownable? An author, that’s who. We asked our panel of crime authors what they were reading, and most importantly if it was any good! Here are their personal recommendations:
Darkness, Darkness by John Harvey. Sadly it’s the final Resnick novel and I’m savouring every line, trying to make it last as long as possible. Like all of Harvey’s books it’s brilliant and complex with a pounding social heart, seeing Resnick investigating a thirty year old disappearance at the height of the miners’ strike. A fitting swansong for the great detective.
Just finished Ned Beauman’s The Teleportation Accident, which is about Germany, theatre, Hollywood and lychees. It’s wonderful, witty, and utterly bizarre. The Summer Isles by Ian R MacLeod is a powerful, melancholy novel that assumes Britain lost the war. And Mr Foote’s Other Leg by Ian Kelly is forgotten British history at its funniest.
The other day I was in a junk shop and picked up a copy of Frederic Manning’s Her Privates We. And I’ve been gripped by it. It’s possibly the best book I’ve read about the First World War. When I was young I was a fan of Robert Graves’s Goodbye to All That. But Manning spares the reader nothing about the life of a soldier on the Western Front – not just the horrors of the front line, but also the petty politics amongst the men, the hours of boredom and the surge of lustfulness once they were relieved from the front and came into contact with women once more. This, combined with Ernst Jünger’s Storm of Steel, give a real sense of what life was like during that time on both sides of the fighting. For all its merits, Graves’s account seems coy and safe by comparison
I have around twelve books on the go right now and I’m not loving any of them. The last truly great book I read was The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty. I’ve bought it for everyone I know.
I’m currently reading Bee Wilson’s Hive, and it’s wonderful. It’s about bees, of course, and traces the recognition mankind has given them for thousands of years. It also points to their enormous utility to agriculture. No bees – no plants, or pretty close to that. She is a talented, wry writer, and the book is a delight.
I’ve just finished Running Girl by Simon Mason and it was excellent – a complicated plot teased out slowly. It was full of humour and unforgettable characters. Hugely enjoyable.
I’m reading The Searchers: The Making of an American Legend by Glenn Frankel, which tells the historical story behind John Ford’s magnificent but troubling Western and its making.
M. G. Gardiner
Red Dragon by Thomas Harris. It’s fantastic – lyrically written and absolutely chilling. It’s a masterclass in how to write a suspenseful, compelling thriller.
I’m reading Runaway, a collection of stories by Alice Munro. Jaw-droppingly good.
Right now I’m reading The Walking Dead graphic novel. I’m a big fan of the TV show and I was interested to compare the different versions. Is it any good? It’s got zombies in it, so yes!
The Winter of Frankie Machine by Don Winslow. It’s the story of a retired Mafia hitman whose past has come back to haunt him in the most dramatic way possible. It’s a great book, and this is the second time I’ve read it, which rarely happens.
A big thank you to all the authors for sharing their book recommendations. Looks like we’ll be needing a bigger suitcase to go on holiday with this year!