Last month, Newsweek's Jon Meacham editorialized on a topic near to my heart: detective novels, crime novels, and his summertime defense of the mystery/thriller genre. I particularly like the end of his essay, his answer to criticism that the books are frivolous lightweights:
"...no one who thinks of himself as a student of human nature can, in my view, dismiss some of the most vivid (and fun!) literature about the things that make us who we are, for better and surely for worse."
To tell the truth, I feel no need to defend. I read a lot. I read kids' books for enjoyment and edification, literary fiction when I want something worth discussing and need to think about how beautifully written a book can be, what amazing words a writer can pull from thin air.
But when I'm stuck for hours in an airport (which, sadly, I often am) or sitting on a plane next to a chatter (I do not like to talk to seatmates), give me a new P.D. James, the latest from Elizabeth George, or the new Scott Turow novel.
I'd call it my guilty pleasure but I feel no guilt.
Right now I'm reading the latest by Turow. Not only do I love the story so far, I give him high marks for how he's woven backstory from the hero's appearance in Turow's earlier novels. Which I read so long ago that they lingered only slightly in my book brain. I needed that refreshing and he gave it to me seamlessly.
(On a side note, this is the first book I've read on our new IPad. So far so good. I don't want to give up my print books, but this is working out a whole lot better than I anticipated...)
About this time last summer, Newsweek did a big book issue. Click here for links and to read my comments.
Hanging around with kid readers pushing to get summer reading lists completed this month, I silently sent a message to their teachers and librarians. Be sure to put something fun on those lists! Let kids read books of their own choosing, no restrictions, no page counts.
And for the rest of us readers- have no guilt. Read what you love. And I'd love to hear what that was this summer.