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Thread: What we're reading, the MTS edition

  1. #1
    Making my own sunshine AW Moderator heyjude's Avatar
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    What we're reading, the MTS edition

    So we're talking in another thread about our favorite books, but I'd like to hear what you're reading now, if you like it, and what (if any) value you think it has for you as a writer.

    I'm reading Mike Lawson's The Inside Ring. He's good at characterization but unfortunately I don't actually like any of the characters.

    How about you? What are you reading?

  2. #2
    Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. kaitie's Avatar
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    The Rite by Matt Baglio, a non-fiction book about a modern priest training to become an exorcist. I've got a three Terry Pratchett books to choose from and the first book of the Cold Fire trilogy once I finish, but I haven't decided which to read yet.

    In terms of what I'm reading now...well, it's non-fiction and the writing itself is...not bad, it just could be a lot better. I find myself constantly reading something and thinking, "Wow, you could have said it this way and that would have been so much more interesting/dramatic/what have you." It's a bit distracting sometimes, actually, and I suppose has shown the reasoning behind why good writing is important because it can really take the reader out of the story. It is interesting, however, and I still enjoy reading because the topic is so intriguing.


  3. #3
    Clever title pending. MarkEsq's Avatar
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    THE AX by Donald Westlake.

    He writes well and creates mood effectively but I'm not sure I buy the premise of the whole story. But it's good enough, I guess, that I am still reading!

  4. #4
    Reader first, writer second Melville's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ToddWBush View Post
    The Watchman by Robert Crais and Sacred by Dennis Lehane. And both of them are so very, very, very useful to me as a writer. Both of them are great writers...
    Crais new book featuring Joe Pike, THE FIRST RULE, is also excellent... though THE WATCHMAN is truly special.

    IMHO:
    Crais, with Pike, and Sandford, with Virgil Flowers, are the only two MTS writers who have spun series from secondary characters that are JUST AS GOOD as their first series (featuring Elvis Cole and Lucas Davenport, respectively.) Even the great James Lee Burke (my personal favorite... and I concur with someone who has listed IN THE ELECTRIC MIST OF THE CONFEDERATE DEAD as their favorite... that masterpiece transcends genre) has never created a series quite as powerful as the one he has with Dave Robicheaux. The same can be said of Walter Mosely... he's got a LOT of interesting characters in a wide array of books but the Easy Rawlins books featuring Easy and Mouse (another of those Joe Pike/Hawk lethal characters) is superlative.

    As for Lehane... his stand-alones lack the THWACK! of his series. I do think that Lehane's stuff works very well in adapted screenplays however.

    It's nice to see that those who write in this genre also read in the genre and appreciate all the good books out there.
    It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.
    --Herman Melville

  5. #5
    HEAT WAVE by the fictional Richard Castle (from the TV show, Castle)

    Recently discovered the show, which I really enjoy, and thought I'd see what the fuss was about re the book. I'm only about 20% into it and so far, so good. I will say that the banter between the detective and writer sidekick is accentuated in the book because you get the dialogue plus the inner thoughts of the detective.
    Last edited by TC Beacham; 12-24-2009 at 12:51 AM. Reason: To make clear.

  6. #6
    practical experience, FTW jeseymour's Avatar
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    I just finished "T is for Trespass," by Sue Grafton. Good reading. I was surprised by the level of quality in this with so many books in. Next up "The Monkey's raincoat," by Robert Crais. I received this in a Sisters In Crime book swap at the holiday party.
    http://jeseymour.com
    Out now from Barking Rain Press:
    Lead Poisoning (2nd ed.) - Things go wrong when a fugitive mob troubleshooter retires to New Hampshire to live with his family.
    Stress Fractures - Kevin Markinson, injured escaping from prison, taken hostage with a teenage boy and surrounded by law enforcement, discovers that everybody has a breaking point.
    Frostbite - a bumbling gang of Rhode Island mobsters get more than they bargained for when they kidnap an aging assassin.

  7. #7
    AW benefactor Chase's Avatar
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    I'm in the middle of Stephen King's Under the Dome. I've read every stand-alone novel (not the Dark Tower series) from Carrie. It has me captive like the residents of Chester's Mill.

    Broken record playing (cracked CD?): SK's The Colorado Kid, published by Hard Case Crime, is one of the best amateur sleuth detective books I've ever enjoyed.

    Under my Christmas tree is wrapped something with the heft, feel, and strong pull of Sue Grafton's U is for Undertow. Like King's (and a host of other writers') books, I've read every Sue Grafton alphabet mystery. I, too, am surprised that most have been delightful page-turners.

    I also enjoy reading these posts, so I guess I'm hopeless.

  8. #8
    practical experience, FTW wilhem spihntingle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkEsq View Post
    THE AX by Donald Westlake.

    He writes well and creates mood effectively but I'm not sure I buy the premise of the whole story. But it's good enough, I guess, that I am still reading!
    I liked "The Ax". Stephen King listed it in "On Writing", so I gave it a shot. Thought it was a horror story, but I was wrong. Enjoyable read for sure. Other books I liked from the S. King list were "Speed Queen", "Zombie", "Liar's Club", and "The Great God Pan".

  9. #9
    Making my own sunshine AW Moderator heyjude's Avatar
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    Ha, my favorite small bookstore is called Circle Books (St. Armand's Circle, Sarasota).

    I used to like Isles, but it seems like no one edits him any more. Or maybe I just don't like all the description. No one's ever accused me of being overly enraptured of description.

  10. #10
    Moderator AW Moderator Maryn's Avatar
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    Although I'm not writing MST at the moment, I still read it a lot.

    I finally made time for a book that's been near the top of my stack for ages. And frankly, I'm quite disappointed. It got critical raves and I simply can't see why. I've read so much better which critics ignored.

    It's John Connelly's (not to be confused with Michael Connelly) Every Dead Thing.

    Among its many glaring flaws (all IMHO, of course) are repeated and frequent violations of a lot of writing conventions, as if this were a first-ever manuscript. For instance, when a character talks, then in the same paragraph as the dialogue there's action using a pronoun as a subject, it's not always the person who said the dialogue who's doing the action (or having the thoughts, whatever).

    It also withholds information from the reader, maybe trying to build suspense, info-dumps, explains unusual actions and reactions after the fact, and commits all kinds of other 'sins.'

    Maryn, who's reading the rest because it makes her feel like a good writer
    Pretending I'm a reasonable and pleasant person is utterly exhausting.

    Brick by Brick, a ménage à trois novel (soon to be re-released)
    Taming the Wilde, FemDom spotted--and striped--in the wild
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  11. #11
    Moderator AW Moderator Maryn's Avatar
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    Oh, I almost forgot. I was reading The Ax and thought its concept worthy of a short story, no more. I set it aside at about page 50. Let's move along, Westlake.

    Maryn, pretty snooty
    Pretending I'm a reasonable and pleasant person is utterly exhausting.

    Brick by Brick, a ménage à trois novel (soon to be re-released)
    Taming the Wilde, FemDom spotted--and striped--in the wild
    Men in Love, anthology about--hey, you're already there, aren't you?
    Maryn Says, an irregular blog almost never about writing
    The Occasional Tweet

  12. #12
    Hold Fast. BradyH1861's Avatar
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    I'm reading Dixie City Jam by James Lee Burke at the moment. I just finished Under the Dome by SK last night.
    "You don't scare me, I married a redhead!"

    "Redheads are God's way of giving the World roses."

  13. #13
    Making my own sunshine AW Moderator heyjude's Avatar
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    What did you think about Under the Dome, Brady? I haven't read SK in a long time but have heard good things about this one.

  14. #14
    Clever title pending. MarkEsq's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maryn View Post
    Oh, I almost forgot. I was reading The Ax and thought its concept worthy of a short story, no more. I set it aside at about page 50. Let's move along, Westlake.

    Maryn, pretty snooty

    Oh heavens, that's hilarious! I JUST finished that book (not two hours ago!) and was thinking the same thing all the way through. I almost put it down early on, in fact, thinking, "This premise is too much" but kept going just cos.

    Mark, snooty like Maryn

  15. #15
    Hold Fast. BradyH1861's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by heyjude View Post
    What did you think about Under the Dome, Brady? I haven't read SK in a long time but have heard good things about this one.
    Like you, it has been a long time since I have read anything by Mr. King. I thought Under the Dome was pretty good. It reminds me of his older works. I'm glad I set aside time to read it.
    "You don't scare me, I married a redhead!"

    "Redheads are God's way of giving the World roses."

  16. #16
    practical experience, FTW Adagio's Avatar
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    Half through Mystic River by Dennis Lehane, being the first book by this author I've ever read (didn't see the movie). Powerful writing. I can't put the book down. I like the "telling" paragraphs, so vivid. No need to "show." On the TBR list: Under the Dome.

    Adagio

  17. #17
    Making my own sunshine AW Moderator heyjude's Avatar
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    Has anyone read William Forstchen's One Second After? I read it several months ago and it's still giving me the willies--it's a novel about the aftermath of an EMP. I got it for my dad for Christmas. 'Cause anxiety is the gift that keeps on giving!

  18. #18
    Clever title pending. MarkEsq's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by heyjude View Post
    ...the aftermath of an EMP.
    Emergency Medical Procedure?
    Easter Muppet Pantomime?
    Easily Manipulated Porcupine?
    Excellent Maple Pecans?
    Egg Muffin Packager?

    I could go on...

  19. #19
    Making my own sunshine AW Moderator heyjude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkEsq View Post
    Easter Muppet Pantomime?
    This would have been much less alarming, but possibly more entertaining, than an ElectroMagnetic Pulse.

  20. #20
    part of the human equation sheadakota's Avatar
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    Right now I am reading Evidence by Jonathon Kellerman- I have seen him bashed on this forum before, but hey, shoot me, I like him

    I like Alex Delaware and his obnoxious french bull dog, I like Miles, I like the fact that they are friends. Would a homocide detective need a profiler as much as Miles always seems too? Probably not- but I don't care i am entertained and that's all that matters.
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  21. #21
    Making my own sunshine AW Moderator heyjude's Avatar
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    Shea, I've always liked him too, but I got awfully tired of Alex Delaware. Very few characters can keep my interest after a half-dozen books or so.

    I officially give up on The Dante Club by Matthew Pearl. Somewhere around page 40, in the midst of the nth argument about whether or not Dante's Inferno should be published, I nearly fell asleep, which sucked 'cause I was on the stationary bike. Has anyone else read this?

  22. #22
    part of the human equation sheadakota's Avatar
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    Heyjude- I know what you mean and admit I took a healthy hiatus from Kellerman for quite awhile- Evidence is the first Alex Delaware book I have read in years and I found I missed him.
    Re-Release of the COYOTE MOON SERIES!
    Fallen available print and ebook
    Through the Glass Available July 2014
    The Coyote's Song- Available August 2014
    Socrate's Child-COMING Summer 2015!
    Broken - March 13th 2015!



    My Website

    Fallen is a taut, hard driving, edge of your seat thiller.
    Michael Wiley, author of The Last Striptease

  23. #23
    Moderator AW Moderator Maryn's Avatar
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    Adagio, I consider Mystic River to be Lehane's best book, and I'm pretty sure I've read 'em all. When you finish it, the movie's well worth a look as well. For once, they correctly distilled for the script the parts which made the book what it is. Sean Penn was terrific.

    And I like Kellerman, too, although I won't read more than one a year. There was some TV movie eons ago with Richard Masur as the cop, and he was so perfect that I envision him as I read, whereas Delaware is just faceless and I couldn't tell you who played him.

    Maryn, laughing at the idea of dozing off on the stationary bike
    Pretending I'm a reasonable and pleasant person is utterly exhausting.

    Brick by Brick, a ménage à trois novel (soon to be re-released)
    Taming the Wilde, FemDom spotted--and striped--in the wild
    Men in Love, anthology about--hey, you're already there, aren't you?
    Maryn Says, an irregular blog almost never about writing
    The Occasional Tweet

  24. #24
    Reader first, writer second Melville's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sheadakota View Post
    I like Alex Delaware and his obnoxious french bull dog, I like Miles, I like the fact that they are friends. Would a homocide detective need a profiler as much as Miles always seems too? Probably not- but I don't care i am entertained and that's all that matters.
    Do you mean Milo?

    Delaware isn't a profiler, he's a child psychologist.
    It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.
    --Herman Melville

  25. #25
    Clever title pending. MarkEsq's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by heyjude View Post
    I officially give up on The Dante Club by Matthew Pearl. Somewhere around page 40, in the midst of the nth argument about whether or not Dante's Inferno should be published, I nearly fell asleep, which sucked 'cause I was on the stationary bike. Has anyone else read this?
    Yes, my dear, and I loved it. But then I have better taste, that is, I am more appreciative of fine literature than you. Ergo I shall explain: the metaphysical struggle over the language and publication of their work is a psychotropomatiular metphor for the length of their penii. By substituting words, swapping definitions with each other, they were symbolically measuring their willies against those of their brethren. And the issue if "pubilcation" revealed them all to be shameless exhibitionists.

    Simple, really, when you're as smart as I am.


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