Thursday, March 25, 2010

Pageturners


Cezanne reading.

What are a few of your favorite page-turners? I hate long flights and need a good one for coming and going in May to make me forget I am sitting in a huge trash can after the first hour.

Paperbacks preferred for their weight. (We're in a fifth floor walkup)

P.S. Love JUSTIFIED but wonder if there is a bigger arc coming or it's going to be small stories about Kentucky lowlife.

32 comments:

Deb said...

Go for the classics: Trollope's THE WAY WE LIVE NOW or Thackery's VANITY FAIR (or BARRY LYNDON) or Defoe's MOLL FLANDERS. You'll be lost in another world before you know it.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Problem is the weight, both physical and mental. But this is what I should read.

Loren Eaton said...

On the crime side, I really liked Andrew Klavan's The Rain and Scott Smith's A Simple Plan. James Maxey's Dragonfoge and Neil Gaiman's Stardust are great in the SF/Fantasy arena. So is Lars Walker's The Year of the Warrior, although it's hard to find a copy since it's out of print.

I heard that Justified is based off a Elmore Leonard character. Anyone know which one?

Anonymous said...

Raylan Givens appeared in Leonard's story "Fire in the Hole" and the novels PRONTO and RIDING THE RAP, Loren.

Patti, if you're looking heft you could try a Michener book like HAWAII or THE SOURCE or Clavell's SHOGUN (a classic) or Pat Conroy's THE PRINCE OF TIDES. I'm sure George would recommend Trollope.

Last book I read on a plane was Tom Piccirilli's THE COLD SPOT. I'm reading the sequel now.


Jeff M.

Fleur Bradley said...

If you're willing to branch out to YA, try Tedd Arnold's Rat Life--really good. It's a slim trade paperback now, I think.

I've gotten my best editing done on a plane trip once (without kids), so I recommend bringing your own work, too.

R. T. said...

May I recommend Steve Torres' BLACKOUT IN PRECINCT PUETO RICO, which you read about by visiting BookLoons via Novels, Stories, and More.

George said...

I love reading John Mortimer's RUMPOLE stories while enduring the torture of flying somewhere. I have an extra copy of the SECOND RUMPOLE OMNIBUS. Would you like me to mail to you?

R. T. said...

George, Rumpole stories are always a winner! You remind me that I am long overdue for my regular rereading of the late John Mortimer's creations.

Paul D. Brazill said...

One Too Many Blows To The Head by Eric Beetner and Jennifer Kohl is a great page turner, if you haven;t read it.

Todd Mason said...

Another vote for Rumpole and his fellow travelers for travelers...good, well-written, without too much subtle subtext that can be lost while being jostled at the elbow or advised about upcoming turbulence.

Might also be an opportunity to try those Borges and Calvino collections I FFB'd a month or so back, both slim books of mostly very short stories...

MP said...

You've already got some good recommendations, with my favorite so far being Scott Smith's terrific "A Simple Plan". His second novel, "The Ruins", is almost as good. Harlan Coben's standalone novels are just about impossible to put down. My favorite is "Just One Look", but any of them would do.

As for "Justified" I think we're going to get a season long (or maybe series long) story arc, but individual episodes can stand alone in a way they can't in a show like, for instance, "Damages". Clearly there are all sorts of unresolved issues with Givens and his ex-wife, his father, Boyd, and Boyd's sister-in-law Ava.

Richard R. said...

Short stories always do it for me. I'd suggest the Rumpole, also the stories of John O'Hara, John Cheever, Ray Bradbury, any of Garrison Keeler's Lake Wobegone books (also a good bet for audiobook listening!), stories of Saki, and any story collection of Sherlock Holmes (the Conan Doyle ones).

Kent Morgan said...

Not sure where you are going, Patti, or how long the flight is, but when I travel to England, I like to read a "thick" UK crime novel such as a Reginald Hill. If you haven't read William Deverell's Trial of Passion that won a Hammett Award. it will keep you engrossed on a long flight. It's a big favorite of George Easter, the editor of Deadly Pleasures. And I always recommend Randy Wayne White. Again depending on where you are headed, one of those city noir collections might work. I've recently been working my way through Dublin Noir edited by Ken Bruen.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Rumpole is a great idea-always meant to try him. A SIMPLE PLAN was great-that's a pretty near perfect pageturner.

Jeff-I loved all those books thirty years ago. They just don't write books like that anymore. Although my book group is doing SOUTH OF BROAD. A few years ago I went to the Michener museum in PA. Quite an amazing writer in terms of research and story, wasn't he?

I have THE COLD SPOT on my tbr pile-should take that one. I read Stephen's last book-love the setting and characters.

I read the Calvino book If ON A Winter's Night. I think those two are too tricky for literal me on a plane flight. My husband likes Borges.

Bringing up Coban reminds me, I could do one on CD. I hadn't thought of that. Last Coban I read was on a long car trip and very entertaining.

But I am not sure what the arc is on Justified. Just coming home?
But whatever, I am very impressed so far.

Maybe I will try to "write" a YA on the trip, Fleur. It seems like that's where the action is.

George-thanks for the kind offer. Let me see if our local used bookstore has it. I like to give them business whenever I can.
Yes,

Eric's book sounds fantastic. So many good books. Thanks!

pattinase (abbott) said...

Paris.
I adore Reginald Hill. Thanks for the Deverell idea. That's a new name for me.
Short stories--I will definitely be taking one volume. So handy for the short ride on the metro. I have read Cheever and OHara countless times-they were the masters, weren't they. Oh, and William Trevor, Alice Munro, Andre Dubus.

Todd Mason said...

Ah. Well, IF ON A WINTER'S NIGHT A TRAVELER-- is one of Calvino's most complex books...ITALIAN FOLKTALES (too fat for your requested specs) and CASTLE are examples of a much less labor-intensive Calvino reads. And Borges, too, is very literal. Just has as much fun with that literalness as possible.

But if you haven't tried Mortimer (!--as such an assiduious cozy reader?), you should. Not all his work is in the Rumpole mode, but his Rumpoles are pretty consistently good (the ones I've read).

Todd Mason said...

Or even assiduous, or so it seems you were at one time.

Assidulous seems like what one might be if they are also redonkulous.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I think I have Invisible Cities somewhere. I should give it another try-expand my brain before it's too late.

Eric Beetner said...

For small but riveting I like Sara Gran. Dope was amazing and I actually read Come Closer on a plane. Both are nice and short and the books themselves are tiny. I've never seen a book that format size before but I love them. Come Closer is a horror-ish book and on a plane you can't get too scared :)

And I'm so honored to be mentioned. I would just die to look across the aisle and see someone reading our book. That would be a real "I've made it" moment.

Todd Mason said...

Well, INVISIBLE CITIES is also tricky, if less so, as I recall, than WINTER'S NIGHT.

pattinase (abbott) said...

We are huge Sara Gran fans. I guess that's every writer's best moment. Seeing their book in a stranger's hands. Have you ever gotten to watch someone watch your movie, Eric? That's something else you have to be very proud of.
Todd-actually I think there were four of them packaged together. I'll have to find them.

Todd Mason said...

I have the QPB version of that HBJ box, too.

Todd Mason said...

Barry Malzberg tells a hilarious and typically Malzbergian story about introducing himself to a reader of one his books on the subway in NYC...and being dressed down for pretending to be himself by the skeptical reader.

pattinase (abbott) said...

It was a bookgroup choice. None of us really got it. It was back when we still had lofty aspirations. Now we read--what all book groups read.I can well imagine that happening to a writer out of the bookstore setting.

Eric Beetner said...

Patti - Yeah sitting in screenings of the film is pretty damn cool. I was sitting next to a woman once who was just balling by the end. I started to feel bad. Then it turned out she was moderating the after-screening discussion. She had to pull it together to talk about the film. Funny in hindsight.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Andre Dubus is a favorite, as is John O'Hara.

Coben is also a good plane read. And you can't go wrong with Joe Lansdale.

Jeff M.

Scott Parker said...

I particularly enjoyed Jeff Abbott's Trust Me from last year although I don't think it's out in paperback yet.

Any Hard Case Crime or Gabriel Hunt.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Dying to read Memory. I may have to walk to Borders.
THE BOTTOMS is the bomb.

Richard S. Wheeler said...

I prefer to put myself asleep reading my own novels. A few pages and I'm snoring.

Steve Oerkfitz said...

Always found Thackery and Trollope to be dreadful slogs. And I was an English Lit major. I always find rereading Ross MacDonald, John D. MacDonald or Ed Mcbain to be good airplane books. While watching Justified I kept being reminded of Walking Tall. Not as excited by this show as I was hoping to be. Much prefer Southland.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Southland is good,too. Many shows at about the same level of "must see." Few command the DVR attention but more are "good" than five years ago. Perhaps. I miss THE WIRE, THE SOPRANOS, THE SHIELD.

Barrie said...

I just finished BOG CHILD by Siobhan Dowd and LOVED it!