GENREALITY


March 15th, 2012 by HelenKay Dimon
On The Reading Pile

We’re talking about our reading tastes. Mine tend to jump around. I’ll read a book in a genre and, if I like it, go read every book by that author and then try other books in that genre. A good example is the Russian thriller, CHILD 44 by Tom Rob Smith. I read this one, thought it was really well done, and then read a bunch of Russian thrillers. I’ve done the same thing with non-fiction Himalayan climbing books (basically anything by Ed Viesturs), literary mysteries/women’s fiction books where a past murder or missing person is at the center (example: DARK PLACES by Gillian Flynn) and the list goes on and on.

Along with those short bursts of obsession, my forever love for mysteries and thrillers has never faltered. The authors change but my loyalty stays strong. In fact, the only books I could read while I studied for the Bar Exam were books by Jonathan Kellerman. I had about a half hour each day for a break and I spent it on Kellerman’s backlist. I can’t explain why, but those were the only books I wanted to pick up during that tense time. My favorite recent read in the mystery/suspense genre is the debut SISTER by Rosamund Lupton. I enjoyed it so much I bought her second book directly from her UK publisher, where it was released well before we got it in the U.S. That’s not something I do every day. But if I go hunting a book, it’s a really good sign.

Same goes for true crime where, honestly, I frequently don’t know the authors’ names, except for maybe Ann Rule. Regardless of who wrote it, I’ll read it. One of my favorite authors in this genre is John Douglas because he not only writes about true crime, but he lived it as a FBI profiler. And give me any reality-based story by someone like Jon Krakauer, Erik Larson or Sebastian Junger.

For the first 30 years of my life I didn’t read romance. Once I started, I was hooked. I raced through the backlists and new releases of Linda Howard, Jayne Ann Krentz, Linda Lael Miller, Julie Garwood, Nora Roberts, and a whole bunch of others. And look at those names…that’s a lot of books! When I started writing I still made time for reading and continue to do so today. Over time, like Sasha and Carrie talked about, I found that I started reading less of the two genres I write – contemporary romance and romantic suspense. I still read some but nowhere near the numbers I used to. Maybe that’s what happens. You write it so you protect the work in the sense of keeping yours fresh and don’t read that genre at the same time. Not sure why it happens but I hear it a lot from authors.

For me the important thing is to keep reading. I love getting lost in a story, that feeling of not being able to turn the pages fast enough. It doesn’t happen with every book, and sometimes it doesn’t happen for months, but when it does it’s pure bliss.

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