Monday, June 07, 2010

My Mystery Challenge

I've been inspired by Will Manley's Mystery Project to read some mystery novels. I'm not a mystery reader, in general. I've read a few over the years, but I'm more of a pure fiction reader. I'm enticed by a beautiful cover and believe whole-heartedly that books can and should be judged by their cover. I'm not sure why I've avoided mysteries. Those I've read, I've enjoyed well enough. Maybe it's the series element. Once I start a series, I tend to become a bit obsessed until I've finished it. I need to broaden my reading horizons to get better at reader's advisory, though, and Will Manley's mystery project fits the bill perfectly.

I'm amending his rules a bit. He's given himself a year to read 75 mysteries. I'll try for five by the end of August. I know that seems like a pitifully small number, so I'll make a confession. I, Holly Hibner, Librarian Extraordinaire (ok, fine, I'm just a regular librarian) am not a big reader. I do read. I do like books. I do not read every day and I do not read large amounts at a time. I'm a "picker." I pick up a book every few days and read a few pages. I love the browsability of non-fiction, but a basic 300-page fiction novel takes me a month or so to get through. Why, you ask? Well, because I'm undisciplined and have the attention span of a four-year-old. I don't have any good excuses. I read fast enough. I have time. I just don't read a lot. So, for me to read five mysteries by the end of August means I have to pick up my pace a bit!

I've already read one: A Cold Day in Paradise by Steve Hamilton. It was his first book, written in 1998. I love the Michigan U.P. setting, and I liked the character Alex McNight. He's flawed enough to be interesting without being pitiful, yet smart enough to solve the mystery.

Now I'm working on Black Echo by Michael Connelly. So far, it's not as good as the Steve Hamilton book, but moves fast enough. It keeps referencing stories from Harry Bosch's past, though, as if it were not first in the series. NoveList, What Do I Read Next, and the KDL What's Next database have all assured me that it is Connelly's first book.

I'll try to branch out into some other areas of the mystery genre. I haven't planned my next read yet. I'm following Will Manley's progress and his impressions of what he's reading, although I haven't picked up any that he's read so far. He reviewed "Murder with Peacocks" by Donna Andrews, and that sounds kind of funny.

Don't worry, I'm sure I'll read more than five. I'm just setting the challenge at five because that's two more books than I would normally read in a summer at my usual one-per-month pace. It's a start, right?

What are your top five mysteries?

1 comment:

  1. I am not much of a mystery reader myself, but have been choosing what I consider to be "classics" lately. I just finished Agatha Christie's "Murder On the Orient Express" and it was quite good. It was interesting and I was very satisfied with the ending, although I would have never figured it out myself.