Thursday, March 11, 2010

So what's on your nightstand?

Show me an eager writer, and I'll show you an avid reader.

And chances are, I'll also show you a nightstand stacked high with titles just too interesting to put away. In fact, if your nightstand area looks anything like mine, you probably hope you don't have to make too many late-night bathroom trips, because it's a dangerously cluttered trail.

I wish I could tell you that the area around my bed is rife with the classics; everything from Homer's Odyssey to Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift.

Um, no. I'm hardly that scholarly. In fact, confession time: I had to read Gulliver's Travels in high school and I found it so boring, I nearly cried. Now, before you condemn me for my lowbrow appraisal, let me just say that since then, at the urging of my far more literary sister, I have read more Swift, specifically his satirical essay, "A Modest Proposal," in which he suggests eating children as a way to eliminate them from becoming an economic burden.

Okay, that was pretty funny. Though it was obviously satire, it apparently shocked all his compatriots and almost made me forgive him for the whole Gulliver debacle.

So no, my literary mix usually doesn't include the classics. But to make up for it, I do try to be eclectic. And I am most definitely prolific. I keep a little bit of everything going so when I do sit down to write, I'm inspired by all types of genres, voices and views.

Here's a sampling of what pages I've been turning before I click off the lights. How about you?

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver. I'm a little behind the times on this one; it got a lot of hype awhile ago after Kingsolver wrote about how she and her family decided to go rural for a whole year. They'd either raise it, grow it, buy it locally, or do without. I just started it, and so far, it's a pretty entertaining read.

Fifty Acres and a Poodle (A story of Love, Livestock and Finding Myself on a Farm) by Jeanne Marie Laskas. What can I say? I must be having some rural fantasy life going - which is ironic because even my mother would tell you I can barely keep a single plant alive. But Laskas has been a columnist for the Washington Post Magazine, she's a great writer, and when I saw this, I just couldn't resist. Maybe this will be the spring my garden will actually grow.

Dare to Die by Carolyn Hart. You knew there'd be a murder mystery in there somewhere, right? Hart is a superb storyteller, and I actually thought I'd read all the offerings in her Death on Demand series. But this is a new one, and I know it will be great.

Lust, Loathing and a Little Lip Gloss by Kyra Davis. Yes, it's chick lit. But I'm a chick, so that's okay. And Davis is a fun writer - I've read a few other books of hers, starting with Sex, Murder and a Double Latte, and it was was a fast-paced, good read.

Haunted by Heather Graham. Heather, where have you been all my life? You've been in the romance section, that's where, and I never go there. But Graham's paranormal mystery/romances are like literary popcorn; I read them one after another, and they never disappoint. And lucky for me, she is an extremely prolific writer. (She's not the actress, by the way - it's a different Heather, surprise, surprise). I love her. I envy her. I can't wait to start reading this one - right now.

Can't choose? Blinded by choices? Let me help!! After all, I don't call this blog Death on Deadline for nothing. (


  1. Oh, we've got so many - hard to choose which ones. One of my all time favorites is a collection of Royko columns. Hmmmm...Also, I see Devil in the white City - that I read awhile ago, and Robin Carr (yes for the cheesy factor) and more cheese/err chick/lit from Fern Michaels.

  2. Oh, I just thought of this and you're gonna love me for asking the question so you can give out this information without feeling like you're selling. And, this is helpful info. If someone buys your book, what format does it come in? Is it sent in the actual mail - or e-mail format?

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  4. Well I'm flattered that I made it onto your nightstand. I also agree that it's good to read a little bit of everything. Currently on my nightstand you would find James Gleick CHAOS: THE MAKING OF A NEW SCIENCE, Stieg Larsson's THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATOO, Nick Hornby's JULIET, NAKED and Maya Angelou's THE HEART OF A WOMAN. The books have absolutely nothing in common but they are all well written and engage me in different ways. As a writer I learn from these authors and their work and as a reader I am able to satisfy all my various curiosities and desires. Mixing it up is always a good thing.

  5. Hey Kyra:

    Can I just tell you how excited I was when I saw your post???? I love your books!! And I hope you're not insulted that I used the term "chick lit" - I certainly didn't mean it in a negative sense, only that I see your books appealing primarily to a female demographic. If I did happen to offend you, I apologize. I admire your choices - very eclectic. I've heard a lot of good things about Larsson's book - do you like it?

  6. Hey, Lisa:

    It's good to hear from you! I really liked Royko's columns, too. He was so funny and sharp. I think I actually have a collection or two ...

    As far as ordering e-books, when you buy them, it's downloaded to your computer immediately in whatever format you choose. And there's a little guide to help you - for instance, if you want a PDF so you can just read off the screen, you can order that format, or if you have a Kindle, you buy the Kindle-commpatible. Easy-peasy! And once you buy it, you can download it in as many different formats as you want, so if you're changing formats mid-chapter, no problem, and no extra cost.

    I hope that helps!