The Bibliophile Presents: Reading New (To Me) Authors Part 1

11 Jun

Sometimes it isn’t easy to buckle down and read a book by an author I haven’t read before. A lot of times I want to read something by an author I know and like, something that has a better than 50% chance of not being a dud. However, that method has not helped me clear through my bookshelf very well—reading more books by authors I haven’t read before is my New Year’s resolution.

As of now, this year I have read 8 books by authors I had not previously read. It would have been more, but I bailed on a couple books. Life is too short to spend your recreational reading with an author who irritates you. I can go a long way with a boring or predictable plot so long as I have likable, interesting cast of characters along for the ride. But when I find myself wanting to throw things at the protagonist and boot him/her from a moving car, it doesn’t matter how original or skilled the writing may be, I won’t read it.

Every day for the next several days, I’ll share a quick review on books I’ve read this year by authors who are new to me. I’m starting with a double-shot because I’ve previously reviewed the first book.

A Conspiracy of Paper by David Liss. I wrote a much longer review on this book back in January or February that you can look up if you really want to, but if you don’t, then suffice it to say the book was okay. Occasionally the period details and the explanations about the rise of securities trading bogged down the story and felt indulgent, but the time period was interesting, as were the characters and I would read David Liss again.

The Water Room by Christopher Fowler. I hate it when publishers don’t make it readily apparent on a book where it appears in the series. That’s how I ended up reading The Water Room, the second book in the Bryant and May mystery series, first. Detectives Bryant and May head up the Peculiar Crimes Unit, a department devoted to crimes that are odd and unusual and defy solving via ordinary police methods. Cranky, old police legends, Bryant and May seem like polar opposites who somehow manage to work together in a way that is part intuitive genius and part monkey with a dart board. The Water Room opens with a victim, dressed and dry, who has somehow managed to drown in her basement. As intriguing as the detectives and their team were, I had my doubts that the mystery would come to a plausible conclusion considering the far-flung investigation. But Fowler managed to pull all the threads of this peculiar crime together for a conclusion that actually made sense. Now I have to go back and read the first book in the Bryant and May series, Full Dark House. The only drawback to reading this series, for me, is that Bryant and May, as grumpy old men, can get a little depressing so I didn’t feel like diving straight into another of their mysteries after finishing The Water Room.

*The next Bibliophile installment will be on a book by Charlaine Harris.

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Posted by on June 11, 2010 in Books, Lifestyle


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