As any voracious reader knows, there are so many books out there, it can be hard to choose just what to read next. So what could be better than a hand-picked recommendation from someone in the know? Every Wednesday the XOXOAD team likes to find out what some of its favorite authors are reading. This week, we’ve asked critically acclaimed author Jamie Mason what she recommends. And while you’re picking up her favorite reads, don’t forget to snatch up your copy of Mason’s newest thriller, MONDAY’S LIE, today!
There’s a quote I love from Stephen King – “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”
It’s hard for me to imagine a word-world where that’s not true, but it’s a very pointed comment for me as I’m both a slow reader and let’s-call-it a deliberate writer. I’m a savorer on both sides of the pen. So, by the end of any given reading year, my – ahem – body count is not competitive.
But I’ve always got a book going, and these last few months have yielded some excellent reads. Here’s what I’ve loved recently:
STATION ELEVEN, by Emily St. John Mandel
Twenty years on from a global medical apocalypse, a troupe of journeyman actors and minstrels perform to keep the arts alive in a world where survival is no longer a casual concern. When they cross paths with a maniacal Prophet, with a messianic and fascist bent, what they’ve learned in their travels, and in keeping the flame of culture alive, makes all the difference.
Beautifully written. I loved this book.
THE LONG AND FARAWAY GONE, by Lou Berney
Two unsolved crimes rock Oklahoma City in the summer of 1986, and the fallout from these tragedies reverberates through the lives of the characters. Twenty-five years later, details surface in both cases that both re-wound and help heal the survivors.
My favorite thing about this book is how it gorgeously maps out the ways our lives cross other lives, how they brush against each other’s margins in ways we’ll never know.
NORMAL, by Graeme Cameron
This dark, deeply witty novel plays out from the point of view of a prolific serial killer who, after a chance encounter with a woman in a grocery store, becomes preoccupied with urges to go against his nature, to no good result for, well, almost anybody.
PAST CRIMES, by Glen Erik Hamilton
I so enjoyed the first installment of the Van Shaw mystery series. Van takes a hard turn from his upbringing, geared to make an accomplished thief of him, to put his talents to military use. Now an Army Ranger and Iraq war veteran, Van is called home to unravel the possibly fatal trouble that has befallen his estranged grandfather. He finds that leaving home – and turning his back on a destiny that never suited him – is more an ongoing battle than a one-time decision.
Action-packed and still convincing, this was a delightful discovery.
Next on the pile is PRETTY GIRLS, by Karin Slaughter. I saw her speak at a conference a few weeks ago and she was so utterly delightful in person that I can’t wait to see what she does on the page.
May your to-be-read pile be, like mine, both towering and wonderful!