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January's FEATURED AUTHOR: Susan's favorite reads...

January 20, 2010
Today we have Susan back (yes!) to share her favorite reads, as part of my Featured Author series. Read on to see what Susan has to say, and feel free to share some of your favorites...

Thanks to Drey for having me back ... and back... and all back all month long! She's asked me to talk about what sorts of books I, as an all-powerful author, like to read.

I think it's easier to say what I don't like to read, and that's non-fiction (usually including memoir). Oh, I'll happily sit down with a narrative non-fiction book like Seabiscuit, but otherwise, forget it. I need storyline, dialogue, characters. What can I say? I'm wired for the form we call fiction.

The other genre I generally don't read is Christian fiction. Go figure, since I'm not exactly Christian. Yet... once again, I'll gladly fess up to reading -- and liking -- authors such as Lisa Wingate. I can do wholesome. I can't do preachy or faith-based.

Romance? Steamy, chaste... it's all good. I gravitate toward the fun, like Lisa Marie Wilkinson. Or the funny, like Christie Craig. I love historicals; anyone who knows me knows I'm a fan of Carrie Lofty for that reason. And I'll gladly grab a Lauren Dane, an Anya Bast, and a couple of hand-held fans for when they get hot.

Back to historicals, though. I am a sucker for a good historical novel. Throw in some Biblical women and we are set. If you've yet to encounter India Edghill's novels, please fix that. Rebecca Kohn's The Gilded Chamber was every bit as wonderful.

It almost makes you wonder why I don't write Biblical historicals, myself.

Others have wondered the same thing about me and mysteries. I gravitate toward them, for some reason I can't figure out. The early entries in Jill Churchill's Grace and Favor series are among some of my favorite cozy mysteries, although I'll pretty much stop anything for one of Nancy Atherton's Aunt Dimity books. Yet I don't shy away from the darkness that Cody McFadyen brings, either. And there aren't many darker than McFadyen. Or if there are, they haven't come to my attention yet.

Can I do middle-of-the-road? You betcha. Linda Fairstein, Lisa Scottoline, Marcia Muller, Kathy Reichs. All are more middle of the road than the cozies or the gories (I once called them the Sick Shit. The name fits, even if it offends), yet I love them just as much. While I generally shy away from police procedurals, there are always exceptions... both Jonathan and wife Faye Kellerman can attest to that.

And don't forget science fiction and fantasy. I'm a sucker for a great dystopia -- ask my SciFi/Fantasy professor from my graduate school days. I tried to write one, myself, instead of a final critical paper. I still have it... maybe one day it'll come out from under the bed. Robin Hobb is another auto-buy. The Tour Manager and I share her books, in fact.

What have I forgotten? Oh, yeah. The stuff we call literature. As well as urban fantasy -- shapeshifters and vamps and the fey. Love it, love it, love it. If you've seen any of my book talks over at The Meet and Greet (more commonly called my blog), you know I have favorites in all these categories. Young Adult? Yep, I'll read that, too.

But at the end of the day, you guys know what my favorite type of book is: rock and roll fiction. I've made a list of books that fit this loose mold at my website ( and am slowly working my way through the list and reviewing them at my new (and totally off the radar. For now. Rocks 'n Reads blog). Too slowly, but then again, I'm not one to limit myself to one particular genre for too long -- and with a wish list that's now over 2000 titles long, I'm not about to start. There's just too much good stuff out there. I can't limit myself. I don't think you should, either.

Help expand our horizons. Leave me the name of a favorite book in the comments. Let's see if I've read any of them! (or if they're on the wish list. With over 2k titles, they very well may be).


Susan Helene Gottfried said...

What? No one's got books to tempt me with yet?

Kaye said...

Hi Susan. I just finished The Russian Concubine by Kate Furnivall and it was a fantastic read. Is that on your list?

Karen H said...

I don't usually complain but I found it impossible to read Susan's blog with that blue type on a dark gray backgournd.

wheels209 said...

Hi Karen H in NC,
I had the same problem with this post. Try to high-light the text using your mouse. That should change the color of the text so you can read it and enjoy.

Take care,

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Actually, Kaye, yes! One of the women in my book club suggested it. I hadn't looked it up yet, so having the author helps. Thanks!

Ladies, I sent Drey a note about the dark font/dark background this morning. I'm sure she'll fix it when she checks in.

drey said...

Y'all, I'm so SORRY about the font color mix-up. Blogger has this new handy-dandy editor, and for some reason it doesn't play very nicely with me!! =( I think I fixed it, but can't see from work, so please holler back if it's still kooky...

Laura Churchill Henry said...

A cute and quirky cozy series is the bewitching mysteries by Madelyn Alt. They're fun and quick reads.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Laura! Hey, guys, pay her LOTS of money. She knew me when I was a geeky, gawky teen.

wheels209 said...

Hi Susan,
I have been trying to think of a really good fantasy series that is a little off the beaten path. The one that came to my mind right away was Bujold's Sharing Knife series. I think it is some of the best work she has ever done. Have you read this series? What did you think?

I have read some of Robin Hobb's earlier work and found it to be very good but her later work I found to be unimpressive.

Take care and have a great night.

Will Mallette said...

Nelson Demille is an excellent author, and I've read several of his books. Each one is better than the previous. As a published author of a fantasy trilogy, I welcome you to check out my latest book, The Magic of Fuller, book one, "Keeper of the Stone".

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Nope, Steve, that's a new one by me. I wonder if the Tour Manager would like it; I'll have to look into it. Thanks.

Will, I generally find the best-selling authors to not meet my expectations, so I've never read a DeMille. I'll have to check out your books, as well. Thanks!

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