Listing The Best
As a writer I have at least three book collections. I have a collection of reference books like The Chicago Manual of Style. I also have a collection of “collectable books,” which I probably bought for more than I can sell them for, such as Val McDermid’s Killing the Shadows. I don’t blame him. I bought them. Another collection consists of books that I keep because the authors did some aspect of writing exceptionally well. I read them and study them to see if I can figure out how the authors accomplished what they did. If they are not the best in the world they are at least the best examples I have found.
Nevada Barr’s Blind Descent and Firestorm are the best depictions of natural phenomena I have found. One leaves me freezing and the other leaves me sweating.
Elmore Leonard is, of course well known for his dialogue. The Hot Kid is one example of many.
A wonderful example of suspense is Lee Child’s 61 Hours.
To see how well written a mystery can be check out Carolyn G. Hart’s Letter From Home.
For a description of New York City from the point of view of an out-of-town visitor read Nancy Pickard’s But I Wouldn’t Want to Die There.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like if a member of your family was accused of murder? If so, read William Landay’s Defending Jacob.
Do you want to read about a clash of very different cultures? I recommend a non-fiction book, Anne Fadiman’s The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down.
Unforgettable Memoirs? Fiction: Alexie Sherman’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (a novel in the form of a diary) and non-fiction: Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Wait Till Next Year. Two very different, one is light and the other is dark but both are satisfying reads.
Do you want beautiful writing about a dark situation? Daniel Woodrell’s Winter’s Bone.
How about a great title to go along with a great mystery? Adrian McKinty’s Dead I Well May Be.
Best historical mystery ever written? Arguably An Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears.
Best American historical mystery: Arguably: A Free Man of Color by Barbara Hambly.
Best Mystery where the detective is incapacitated: The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey.
Best mystery author ever: Agatha Christie
All of the books and authors mentioned are part of my personal library. What do you have in your library?