Read Any Good Books Lately?

Many people know I read a great deal and I am frequently asked
if I’ve read any good books lately. The answer is most definitely yes.

I absolutely loved “This Is Where I Leave You” by Jonathan Tropper. It’s a laugh out loud chronicle of a dysfunctional family gathered together for a shiva (Jewish period of mourning). I laughed and laughed so much that Wifey plans to read it next.

Another funny book written from a perspective of hate…yes, I said hate is “The Whore Of Akron” by Scott Raab. To say he despises LeBron James would be an understatement. Funny and filthy, I enjoyed his skewering of LeBron. While this is not for everyone, if you enjoy the NBA, you should read this book.

On a widely different topic, Sun Times columnist Neil Steinberg got loaded one day in 2004, smacked his wife and wound up in the clink. His “drunkalog” called “Drunkard” makes fascinating reading and gives insight into the sickness that is alcoholism. Wifey found it interesting and illuminating.

To be honest, I too, read page-turners, especially mysteries. While many of you have loved the Steig Larson “Dragon Tattoo” trilogy, in my opinion there are far superior Scandinavian authors.

Best of the lot is Jo Nesbo, a Norwegian who writes very dark (hey, he’s in Scandinavia so what do you expect with all the long winters, etc.) novels. The Harry Hole – that’s the detective’s name- stories are excellent. Start with the early books, but be sure you read The Snowman before The Leopard and Phantom.

Also highly recommended are the Inspector Wallendar series by Henning Mankell, a Swede, and the Inspector Erlunder series by Arnaldur Indridason (Icelandic). There is a wonderful darkness in each, something found in the Larson books as well.

Domestically, I recommend the works of Robert B. Parker. Both Spencer and Jesse Stone are remarkable characters that live on even after the author’s death over a year ago with Ace Atkins and Michael Brandman continuing the series writing as if Parker been the author. Also, any mystery by Ed McBain and Chicagoan Bill Granger are well worth your time.

Among the best selling authors of these genres, Robert Crais, Lee Child and John Sanford continue to produce interesting work. Lesser known, but worth your time are Barry Eisler (John Rain series) and Brent Ghelfi.

And please don’t forget the classics from Raymond Chandler and Agatha Christie. They are still worth reading today and are sure to be found at your local library.

The works of John Patterson (best selling author for each of his co-written tomes) and Dan Brown are not for me. I don’t like the crisis every chapter, or the pace they set. You may love them, but they are not for me.

I would be remiss if I didn’t suggest anything by John Le Carre and Alan Furst in the spy genre is better than anything turned out by Vince Flynn or David Baldacci. There are other non-genre authors whose work I love including Jonathan Franzen, Tom Wolfe, John Irving as well as anything by Bernard Malumud, Hemmingway and Fitzgerald.

Obviously there are so many others far too numerous to mention, but if someone asks me to recommend a good book, it’s generally the one I just finished.

If you’d like to suggest someone I absolutely must read, please do as I always welcome such suggestions. Who knows what I’ll find?

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