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; today we’ve asked Alan Finn, author of THINGS HALF IN SHADOW, a gripping supernatural thriller, to tell us what he’s reading now!

things-half-in-shadow-9781476761725_lgIt appears that I am the first male author invited to write a “What I’m Reading” column for XOXO After Dark. It’s an honor I don’t take lightly. To mark the occasion, I want to talk about chick lit. Namely, how much I hate that label, which is slapped on pretty much any book written by a woman for other women. It’s sexist. It’s demeaning. It’s wrong. From now on, I decree that we should just call them Great Books By Women That Insecure Men Are Afraid To Read. That pretty much sums things up, doesn’t it?

The ironic thing about GBBWTIMAATR, to use an unwieldy acronym, is that a lot of men would also enjoy what they have to offer. Suspense, romance, intelligence, sex. Men like those things, too.

So these book recommendations aren’t for you, ladies. You’re a smart bunch. You’ve probably already read them and recommended them to all of your friends. (If you haven’t, go and read them right now. Seriously. The rest of us will talk amongst ourselves until you return.) No, the books listed below are GBBWTIMAATR that I think men, insecure or otherwise, would be happy to read.

THE WINTER PEOPLE by Jennifer McMahon

Behold, the perfect book for a dark, frigid January! Winter. Vermont. A lost diary. Twin narratives that ricochet from past to present. Oh, and very creepy things happening in the woods. If you read THINGS HALF IN SHADOW, you’ll see how much I love things that go bump in the night. The ghoulies in THE WINTER PEOPLE do more than just bump. You’ll be up all night reading.

IN THE BLOOD by Lisa Unger

I’m crazy about Lisa Unger. She’s a kind, generous, wickedly talented writer who can unearth dread in even the happiest of domestic situations. IN THE BLOOD is one of her best. It’s got missing girls, a conflicted narrator with plenty of secrets, a possibly sociopathic little boy and one jaw-dropper of a twist. This one is a white-knuckle read.

THE HUSBAND’S SECRET by Liane Moriarty

I absolutely devoured Liane Moriarty’s BIG LITTLE LIES a few months back. When I was finished, I promptly marched out and bought her previous book, THE HUSBAND’S SECRET, hungry for more. I was not disappointed. Moriarty’s got a real flair for balancing soapiness with social satire, seriousness with dark comedy. She’s also a humanist, treating every character with warmth and respect. Men who read this will see their wives, mothers and sisters in an entirely new light.

GONE WITH THE WIND by Margaret Mitchell

Here it is: The grandmother of all GBBWTIMAATR. As a writer of historical fiction, it feels like I’m always returning to GONE WITH THE WIND, whether it’s to see how Mitchell paints an America ripped apart by the Civil War, creates complex heroines that refuse to be pigeonholed or pulls off astounding set pieces like the burning of Atlanta. Mostly, though, I return to GONE WITH THE WIND for the love/hate chemistry between strong-willed Scarlet O’Hara and rapscallion Rhett Butler. It’s a passion so hot that it’s singed generations of readers.