Elizabeth S. Craig writes the Memphis Barbeque series for Penguin/Berkley as Riley Adams; book four, Rubbed Out, is the latest of the series. Her next book, Quilt Trip (written as Elizabeth Craig) releases December 2013; it’s part of Penguin/NAL’s Southern Quilting mysteries. She also pens the Myrtle Clover series for Midnight Ink and independently. Find out more about her books on her website.
Sometimes I’m asked what I’ve been reading. Actually, I’m frequently asked that—I guess people assume that I’m very plugged in, since I’m a writer.
I usually blush and say, “Oh, some mysteries.” I’m always a bit embarrassed that I haven’t moved far from my favorite genre…the one I spend my days writing.
But when I was approached to write this post, I looked at my bedside table with some trepidation and realized—I don’t limit myself to reading mysteries. I think the reason that I focus on the mysteries is because they stay with me the longest and influence my writing the most.
I also realized: thank goodness for e-readers. I’d have a towering, tottering pile of books if most of these weren’t on Kindle.
And another realization—wow, I’ve read a lot of books lately.
Here’s what’s within arm’s reach and recently read:
The aforementioned mysteries: Agatha Christie: Five Little Pigs, Taken at the Flood, and Mystery of the Blue Train (all Poirots), Secret Adversary, and 4:50 from Paddington. It’s hard to go wrong if you’re reading Christie. I’ve got a more recent mystery there, too: Invitation to Die by Helen Smith. It had a quirky opening and an interesting set-up that pulled me in (plus, I can’t resist books about writers).
I’ve recently read some non-fiction: The Glass Castle, a stunning memoir by Jeannette Walls that makes me shocked and amazed at the matter-of-fact and accepting way she relates her childhood years.
I’ve also, sadly, got WordPress To Go, by Sarah McHarry, since I’m ready to stop stumbling around with WordPress and figure out what the heck I’m doing there before migrating my blog to the platform.
Resources for writers? Yes, I’ve got them. My most recent reads are 25 Ways to Create Classic Characters Readers Will Love by Diane Krause, My Story Can Beat Up Your Story by Jeffrey Schechter, and Structuring Your Novel by K.M. Weiland. I recommend them all highly and for different reasons.
I’ve got random fiction there, too. Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple (which actually reminds me of The Glass Castle in a lot of ways, now that I think of it). I also have one of Neil Gaiman’s latest: The Ocean at the End of the Lane. Which scared me to the point that I couldn’t fall asleep that night. But somehow I couldn’t stop reading it. I read somewhere that it was a fairytale for grownups…I think that’s brilliantly put.
Not only that, but there’s poetry on my bedside table…always. I never mention this to friends who are asking me what to read because…well, it’s poetry. I’m assuming that my friends aren’t delving into poetry too often, but I might be underestimating them. Next time I’m asked, I’m resolving to mention the poetry I’ve always got at hand. My favorites are Edna St. Vincent Millay, Robert Frost, and Billy Coffey. I’ve also got 10 Poems to Change Your Life by Roger Housden which is a thoughtful analysis of ten poems—many of which I was familiar with, but also some new treasures he uncovered for me.
I do have some variety on my bedside table, after all! How about you? Do you enjoy sticking to a particular genre, or do you like branching out?