Stressed-Out September Reading Update

If you’re a compulsive reader like I am, you may find that you read more during those times that you’re busier, more stressed out—and thus should have less time to read. Hope you are not having that kind of September.  However little or much book-time you have had, I always enjoy hearing about what you’re reading. Keep in touch, and here’s what I’ve gone through so far in September:

“High Stakes” by Dick Francis (1975) This celebrated British author made his name with short, suspenseful novels set in and around horse-racing.

“HMS Unseen” by Patrick Robinson (1999) A miss, in my opinion, for this military thriller writer. The stolen submarine plot seems way too improbable.

“Death Comes for The Archbishop” by Willa Cather (1927) I’d never read this classic, but it should not be missed. With all the revisionist history of the Catholic missionary drive into the American Southwest, this slim novel depicts the frank humanity of the priests and the believers, none of whom get broad-brushed. For fine writing, you can’t do better than Cather’s vivid desciptions of the landscape.

“Therapy” by Jonathan Kellerman (2004) JK’s recurring good guys, psychiatrist/police consultant Alex Delaware and LAPD Detective Milo Sturgis are always likeable, reliable and yet still unpredictable. Any of the Delaware novels is a sure thing for a long airplane flight or a sick day.

“Whistle Stop: How 31,000 miles of train travel…saved the Presidency of Harry Truman” by Philip While (2014) Stumbled across this book recently, and it was a gem. We’ve all seen the “Dewey Defeats Truman” photo from 1948. This quick read takes you into the campaign of a president as upside down in the polls as the current White House resident (and there are other similarities too) and explains what being a blunt, plain-spoken underdog can do when everyone writes you off. Before Trump, Truman was arguably the president most seen as “disastrous” and “accidental”. You need to read how he managed to win reelection anyway.

“The American Gun Mystery” by Ellery Queen (1933) The Queen mysteries are like Swiss watches: complex and precise. I’ve been a fan since the mid-70s TV series and mystery magazine. Today the books are hard to find, but worth searching out.

“The Emperor’s Tomb” by Steve Berry (2010) Berry gets a bad rap because he seems to borrow more than a little from other thriller writers, like Daniel Silva, Dan Brown, David Stone and others. OK, he does, but if you like those writers, you will like Berry too. I’m partial to his main good-guy, on-again/off-again federal agent Cotton Malone, because Malone’s dream is to just retire and run a used bookstore. Fortunately, Berry fans won’t let him.



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