Summer selections from top novelists
In this feature exclusive to BookPage.com, authors are asked a question about the craft of writing to give readers an insight into how their favorite writers think and work. For this author forum, BookPage brought together Sandra Brown, Carla Buckley and Michael Palmer to ask: What's on your summer reading list?
I've been saving a couple of books for the season. I loved Chris Bohjalian's Skeletons at the Feast, so I bought Secrets of Eden. [see our reviews of Bohjalian's books] It's been in my stack of to-be-read books for several weeks. I'm savoring the anticipation. He writes lyrically and tells a captivating story. That's tough to do. Sometimes you get one of those qualities at the sacrifice of the other. Bohjalian, however, tells an action-packed and emotionally-gripping story in language that often reads like poetry.
I also look forward to reading John Sanford's newest Lucas Davenport novel, Storm Prey. I've read them all, but you could hardly call Lucas an old standby! He's as far from familiar and comfy as the far side of the moon. He always surprises. I fluctuate between wanting to smack him with my fist, or with my lips! I never tire of this fascinating character or of the intricate plots that Sanford—with excellent storytelling ability—plunges him into.
This summer, I’ll be digging into research as I begin my next novel. As a non-scientist writing about scientific threats, this will involve a lot of nonfiction reading. In between, however, there will be a number of long road trips and for those, I’ll be taking along Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. I’ve heard fantastic things about all three, and I’m eager to see for myself how Larsson managed to keep the tension going strong throughout the trilogy [our reviews of Larsson's books]. I’m also planning to read Anna Quindlen’s Every Last One, which several readers have recommended to me [see our review], and Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay which I hear is exceptional.
When my first book, The Sisterhood, came out, a number of well-knowns gave it blurbs. I vowed then that if whatever I had to say ever mattered, I would never say no to a new writer if I could help it. Little did I know. I now get anywhere from three to 10 ARCs or manuscripts a month. I am a slow reader under the best of circumstances, and with a book-a-year contract, the need to exercise, and a part-time medical career, I am always scrambling for time to read non-blurb books, and inevitably falling asleep at night with one of them open on my chest. I try to have one pleasure read going at all times, and especially when I go on any kind of vacation. Right now, The Help [read our interview] is on the bedside table because I want to experience what has moved so many others. I also have a Lee Child (he's my favorite) ready and waiting, along with the Stieg Larsson trilogy. If I get five blurb books plus those titles read by the end of the summer, I will be one happy and fulfilled dude.
Tom Robinson is an author publicist and media consultant working with authors across the country. Visit his website.