Barbara Delinsky, author of THE SUMMER I DARED, dishes on what she loves to read…even when she’s supposed to be writing.


A disclaimer here.  I am not supposed to be reading anything.  I’m writing a book.  Reading takes my mind off my own characters and plot – not to mention, after reading a really good book by someone else, making me feel like my own book stinks.

But how not to read?  It’s my responsibility, my inspiration, my escape.  Those three things say it all.  At any given time, I’m reading three books, one for each of these reasons.

Responsibility?  That would be to my book group, which I’ve been part of for twenty-six years and which reads a wide variety of books, not all of which I want to read, hence responsibility.  I’m just about to finish Tell The Wolves I’m Home, by Carol Rifka Brunt, though, and I’m loving it.  Told through the eyes of a 14-year-old with a unique personality, it is a beautifully-written story set in the years after AIDS became a known horror.  Incredibly, this is not a story about AIDS, but about the lies families tell, even within ranks, and the double loss those lies cause.

Inspiration?  That would have to do with books similar to mine in content but written in ways that I hope will teach me things about phrasing, pacing, and emotional arc.  I’m currently reading (actually re-reading in a slow and savoring way) Anna Quindlen’s Still Life With Bread Crumbs.  I’ve always loved Quindlen’s way with words, and this book didn’t disappoint.  Before that, I read Sue Monk Kidd’s The Invention of Wings, and while the subject matter here is very different from mine, her writing style is awesome.

Escape?  Ahh, here comes the fun.  What can I say?  I’m a paranormal person – hmm, don’t know if that came out right, but you know what I mean.  I love vampire fiction.  Give me a story of the Carpathian, Dark-Hunter, Immortals After Dark, or Midnight Breed variety, and I’m in hinterland heaven.  I am totally in awe of the imagination of the women who write these books.  I find the worlds they create to be fascinating, the characters in them real and magnetic, and the love stories incredible.  And well-written?  Absolutely.  I adore J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood, and have just finished reading The King.  I’d like now to go back and reread Dark Lover, which is the original book in the series and the first one about Wrath and Beth.  The rereading may have to wait, though, because I’m currently waiting with bated breath for this week’s release of The Book of Life, the third book of Deborah Harkness’s All Souls Trilogy.  I loved the first two books for their intriguing premise, smooth writing, perfect pacing, and even their touches of the academic.  I anticipate the third to be the same.

There you have it.  But my editor shouldn’t know that I’m doing anything other than write.  So you didn’t read any of the above.  Did you.