I realize that for many November is NaNoWriMo, and for the many dedicated people pounding away at their keyboards, I salute you. As for me, after coordinating the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense this year as well as finishing my own romantic mystery, the last thing I want to do is sit at a keyboard and stare at a computer screen. Therefore, I dedicate November to "Me" time," to refilling the well time and to doing something I rarely get to do anymore--read for pleasure.
My nightstand resembles a bygone era in my household. The table is loaded with books! I just completed my first "for fun" reads. Tess Gerritsen's, The Bone Garden, and Daniel Silva's Moscow Rules. (I can picture non-thriller lovers saying, This is fun?) For me it is, absolutely.
Once again, Gerritsen's physician background serves her well in this Boston-based book set in the present and in the 1800s. Combining fictional characters with the remarkable real life historical figure Oliver Wendell Holmes, she addresses the subject of ressurectionists -- grave robbers who harvest bodies for the black market. Anytime you read Tess Gerritsen you expect beautiful writing and thought-provoking text. The Bone Garden doesn't disappoint. And I love the life lesson she provides at the end of the book. It's something we take for granted today, and yet our ancestors had to learn it the hard way--with myriad loss of life and disease. The book isn't Gerritsen's standard breakneck page turner. But if you like stories of Jack the Ripper and have a love of history, you'll love The Bone Garden.
Next on my nightstand is Moscow Rules. I love sitting down with anything written by Daniel Silva. First, I know I'm going on an international tour by reading his well-researched work. In Moscow Rules I traveled to Italy, Israel, France, England, Russia and of course the U.S. His protagonist Gabriel Allon is one of the most interesting fictional characters of all time in my opinion. His combination of art, political events, world history with some of the most intriguing protagonists and the most evil antagonists created guarantee I'm in for an up-all-night read. Silva does hooks better than any author out there, his sense of humor is laugh-out-loud funny, and the way he tortures his characters is grossly unfair. His knowledge of espionage and the realism in his storytelling leaves me with no choice but to turn the pages. What I love about his series featuring the ruthless, eye-for-an eye Gabriel Allon, Ari Shamron and Adrian Carter is I know after he's made my heart stop a time or two, good will defeat evil.
I forget that I'm a writer when I read books like these. Good luck to everyone doing NaNoWriMo. Like the overworked employee who hangs up a shingle that says, "Gone Fishin'", my shingle is up too. Mine says, "Gone Reading." So, if you're a writer, how do you refill your well?