Today we welcome Peg Herring as our Book Club Friday guest author. Peg lives and writes mysteries in northern Lower Michigan. Of her paranormal mystery, THE DEAD DETECTIVE AGENCY, critic Sam Millar (New York Journal of Books) says: “Ms. Herring’s story-telling ability…is genuinely impressive. Masterfully, she takes your conscious mind out of your own world and guides you into the atmospheric surrealism of The Dead Detective Agency, smoothly and expertly, with page-turning ease. The story and writing proceed at a furious, breathtaking pace, and when we finally come to the end of our voyage, it’s with deep regret, as if saying bon voyage to a dear friend we have known and loved for years.”
Learn more about Peg by visiting her website. -- AP
READ WHAT I SAY
I have a friend who has never been able to forget (forgive?) that I did not like the Andrew Greeley book she gave me.
I once had the parent of a student insist I read THE STAND. She was visibly unhappy when I finally admitted I had not finished the book.
I was a little offended when my sister returned my copy of THE POISONWOOD BIBLE with wrinkled nose. “Not my kind of thing.”
What is it about reading that makes us want others to get the same thrill we get from a book? I don’t expect my sister to wear clothes like mine. My friend does not expect me to order the same food when we lunch together. And the Stephen King-loving parent would not expect that we agree on what color a person should paint her living room.
Here are some things that I believe cause disagreement about what is a good book:
Personality -- Some of us like romance; others want action. Some like a lot of setting or character description or gore; some don’t.
Time of life -- My choice of books has changed over the years. While mystery remains a constant, I paired it with biographies for a while, historical novels for years, and recently, nonfiction (quantum mechanics—Can you believe it?) Many books I once loved now seem thin or wordy or contrived.
Mood -- There are books I was in the mood for on a particular day. I might have owned the book for ages, but then the time to read it came along. THE BOY WHO COULD MAKE HIMSELF DISAPPEAR was one such book. Loved it; probably would never read it again.
Education level -- Without being snobbish, it must be said that education changes a person’s view of what’s worth reading. I recently enjoyed a book on brain research, but I couldn’t help but notice that the doctor who wrote it needed a ghost writer! I’m now enjoying Louis Bayard’s THE PALE BLUE EYE, because he cleverly inserts little Poe things that delight me but might slip past someone who hasn’t spent a lot of time with Eddie.
Outlook on life -- Friends tell me this or that author is brilliant, so I try their work. If it hasn’t got my slant on life, i.e., that good guys win, even in some small way; that life is serious but not to be taken seriously; and that there are good people in the world, I probably won’t enjoy it. I know there’s an audience for noir. It just isn’t me.
There. Some of why we can’t always agree on a favorite book. Reading is so darned personal that we react in ways we often don’t even recognize. That’s why, if you don’t like my books, it doesn’t mean you’re a bad person (even if I’m tempted to think so.)
Thanks so much for being our guest today, Peg, and for a very interesting post. Taste is very subjective. We often forget that. -- AP