Friday, February 22, 2013

Books on my TBR (To Be Read) pile

After a long winter of reading for a literary award contest, I'm back to reading for pleasure and research.  Reading critically on a regular basis can feel like work some times, and the stack I had to get through this year was deep, but I was exposed to some writers and really good books that wouldn't have read otherwise. Once the awards are announced, I may talk a little bit more about some of the books, and the experience.

Since I wasn't really reading much for pleasure or research, my pile has begun to overflow, and I'm happy to get to it. There are worse things than a pile of overflowing books.

Some of the books on my TBR (to be read) pile are:

Matt Helm: Death of a Citizen by Donald Hamilton.  This is the first Matt Helm book, and I'm assured that it doesn't resemble the Dean Martin movies.  Cool cover, and the paperback (an awesome gift) is a first edition.  I can't wait to tear into it.  I love this genre, and the era it represents.  Donald Hamilton also wrote Westerns, and those are on my list, but I have to confess that I haven't read any of them--yet.

Two for Texas by James Lee Burke. Who knew JLB wrote Westerns?  This was published before his much-rejected, but much-celebrated The Lost Get Back Boogie. I've already peeked into the first few pages, and the language is as rich as one would expect.  I'm anxious to read this one and only Western from Burke.  One could argue that Burke continues to write Westerns, but that's a discussion for another day.

Also in the Western pile, I have Jubal Sackett by Louis L'Amour waiting to be read.  Why should anyone be surprised that a L'Amour novel is on TBR pile?  Why not continue to read the masters of the genre?  The most popular and prolific?  I know times were different when L'Amour was at the top of the Best Seller lists, but I'm convinced that good stories never die.  Neither do genres. 

A Place in Time by Wendell Berry follows.  This is a collection of short fiction of the "Port William Membership."  The stories span in time, starting with the Civil War.  As much pleasure as research, both are intertwined for me as is evident in my next choice, The Widow of the South by Robert Hicks.

My reading habits and TBR piles are always in a state of constant change.  I may get to these books soon, or something else might come along to take their place.  I'm not one of those writers who says, "I can't read when I'm writing a novel."  When would I read?  I'm always writing something.

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