I have been on a reading kick lately and quite productive. More so than my writing, I must confess. Picking up a great book is akin to finding a great love – but it’s an affair – not a lasting soul-mate. I have been a bit fickle with my choices, a little romance, a little mystery, a little mainstream. I read a great old traditional Iris Johansen novel a few weeks ago, entitled White Satin, and I felt transcended into my past. Flash back to the old Loveswept series sold in the supermarkets and read in a heated, fervor evening of passion. Sighing over alpha males and maddening conflict in true roller coaster ride fashion. Taken away from my daily problems of boys and dating and awkwardness – those books gave me something to hope and dream about. Unfortunately, too many critics cite the traditional romance as giving women false expectations. So untrue. They gave me something to escape from – I knew reality better than anyone and was under no false expectations. But they certainly made my world a bit prettier for a while, and that is something quite special in this life.
I moved on to the Girl with a Dragon Tattoo series. I confess I refused to read them in the height of the series popularity over the summer. Every beach bum had a copy in hand and I don’t like to rush head first into trends. I wait and bide my time. When the fervor begins to die down, I circle the book like a predator and think before I commit. So, I committed and though I found the first book slow for the first quarter – the lure of the heroine overcame any weakness. Damaged, brilliant, vengeful and interesting – there hasn’t been such a complicated, intriguing heroine in a long time. She had me at hello, so I tore through the rest of the series like a weekend fling and came out panting and satisfied.
Then Susan Elizabeth Phillips, my idol. Call Me Irresistible was the perfect complement to the darkness of the Tattoo series. This was the first book we didn’t get the hero’s viewpoint, and the master of the humorous romance used this to her sweet advantage. Not knowing what he was thinking drove me and the heroine crazy. I laughed out loud at the small town antics and adored the impulsive, headstrong heroine who was not classically beautiful and and had to clean toilets to survive. Again, I was transported into another time and place, where great sex rules, and that first falling in love experience was mine all over again. And I wasn’t even technically cheating on my fantastic husband. HOW COOL IS THAT?
I am currently reading Emily Griffin’s Heart of the Matter. I like her as an author – some of her books much better than others, but I was immediately engulfed in the two main character’s lives. The author grabbed me by the throat and has not let go. I completely identify with the character who quit her job as a lawyer to spend time with her children, then found it not what she expected. Swamped in mundane tasks, she drifts from her husband, who is a famous plastic surgeon. Her mother warns her to keep her job or she will lose her husband because she will not be interesting anymore. I found I was a very bad mommy today for personal reasons. I could not put this book down. It’s like watching a train wreck happening in front of you (forgive the cliché) and I found myself getting frustrated, slamming the book down and stamping around the kitchen as I yelled at my husband. “If you even think of cheating on me, you know what I’ll cut off, right!”
The poor man knows me well enough to sigh and look me directly in the eye. “What are you reading, honey?”
I stomped off. “Never mind!”
I will finish the book today but I won’t share what happens.
Let’s not forget whatever lovers you seek, whether it be romance or mystery or horror, are there to make our lives more beautiful, more intense, more present.
God, I love being a writer. To contribute to that world just a little bit. Well, that’s enough for me.