Summer and Books, Two Great Things That Go Together!

I’ve been somewhat on a reading tear as late. It reminds me of what I used to do before I really got serious about writing. Back then I’d plow through two or three books a week. I was never without a book nearby. I remember twenty years ago or so, sitting in the kitchen of the home I was renting with a friend of mine, stirring my pot of Craft Macaroni and Cheese while reading THE STAND by Stephen King. I remember a couple of month long stretches where, each time, I would read from beginning to end the entire Travis McGee series. I remember finding new authors, rediscovering old ones, and reading books I’d been waiting anxiously until they came out.


The point is, once I started focusing all my free moments to writing, reading feel to the side. It didn’t go away completely, but I was lucky if I got through two books a month.


I thought that once I started writing fulltime last year, I’d get more reading done. But for some reason that didn’t happen. Not right away, anyway.


These past two weeks have been an awesome return to that old form. I’m almost finished with my fifth book in that time, and all have been great. And I’ve been writing, too! In fact, my creativity level seems to be hitting a new high. I’m working on the proposal for my next book, and each day it feels better and better. But beyond that, I’ve also been bombarded with ideas for new books on an almost daily basis. What a rush.


I guess part of it was that I was away from home in a foreign land where I was pretending to be a local resident, and just live day-to-day like this was my home. I didn’t do a lot of the touristy things. Instead I found my favorite places to read and to eat and just fell into a rhythm. I like traveling that way sometimes, it allows me to get more of a sense of a place.


(Also a note in advance…since I got home late last night after a very long flight, I may be a bit slow in responding to comments.)


(Note number two…more of an observation…it’s kind of odd writing this post a few days in advance from my hotel room acting like I’m already home.)


As far as the books I’ve been reading, I decided to try to catch up on some authors I’ve enjoyed in the past. Since my last Murderati post, I’ve read KILLER INSTINCT and POWER PLAY by Joseph Finder…both kept me up late into the night, and I’ve vowed to never wait as long to read his future novels. GRAVITY by our own Tess Gerritsen…Tess combined so many of my favorite things in this book, and did it so well I was in awe. I also read SOME BURIED CAESAR by Rex Stout, the book that was chosen as the book to read for Bouchercon this year…a lot of fun. And, finally, I’m just finishing THE BODIES LEFT BEHIND by Jeffery Deaver…boy, can that man tell a story!


So my question to you, ‘rati, what good books have you read this summer? Doesn’t have to be a recent release. Let’s build our 2009 What-We-Read-This-Summer list!




17 thoughts on “Summer and Books, Two Great Things That Go Together!

  1. karen from mentor

    Hey Brett,
    I read Some Buried Ceasar last month in a book that also had The Golden Spiders in it.
    I love Rex Stout.
    Just finished Marshall Karp’s The Rabbit Factory and I liked it VERY much. Marshall has a unique voice and he’s pretty funny. He’s mixed a lot of life lessons in with his entertainment, I think you get that sometimes with a novelist who started publishing later in life. I’m looking forward to reading all of his work. His characters are very human.

    I’m currently reading Breathing Water by Tim Hallinan. AWESOME book. Tim weaves an intricate plot filled with delights for all the senses. And Rafferty is such a smart ass.

    I don’t usually read mysteries when I’m writing a novel, for fear of someone else’s voice bleeding into my work, but I can read them no problem when writing short stories or essays.

    Come home safe.
    Karen :0)

  2. Kaye Barley

    Fun Question!!

    I usually read two or three books a week – so rather than trying to remember them all and writing them all down I’ll tell you what popped immediately into mind. This was the summer I discovered Reed Farrel Coleman’s Moe Praeger series which I gobbled up like candy. Then went back and re-read slowly to savor every word.

    Karen’s post reminds me – I’ll be picking up my copy of Some Buried Caesar to read soon also!

  3. Louise Ure

    I’m on one of those judging panels this year, so everything I’m reading is from that list, which of course I can’t talk about. But I can tell you there are some fabulous books out there this year!

  4. Alli

    I read DAWNKEEPERS and SKYKEEPERS by Jessica Andersen. For anyone interested in the Mayans this is a great read. They are part of a series and I really don’t think I can wait until next April for the next book. Gah!

    I have started on Laura Caldwell’s RED HOT series. I’m currently reading the first one – RED HOT LIES. I’m a big fan of both Jessica and Laura’s work.

    What a great idea, Brett! Happy settling in!

  5. Dana King

    I read some good ones this summer.

    SWAG, Elmore Leonard
    SLAMMER, Allan Guthrie
    FAMILY SECRETS, Jeff Coen (True story of last year’s Family Secrets mob trial in Chicago)
    HIGH SEASON, Jon Loomis
    SOUL PATCH, Reed Farrell Coleman
    BREATHING WATER, Timothy Hallinan (Maybe the best book I’ve read this year. Definitely Top 3.)
    EASY INNOCENCE, Libby Fischer hellmann
    CRIME ALWAYS PAYS, Declan Burke (ARC; not yet available)

  6. Stephen Jay Schwartz

    Boy, Brett, I had exactly the same experience as you – I was reading one book a week a couple years ago, but now that I’m writing on deadline it has dropped to two books a month at best. And I was getting a lot of good writing done when I was doing all that reading.
    The books I’ve read lately have been fantastic – all of Marcus Sakey’s work, Christa Faust, Tom Epperson, Tim Halinan, and our own Brett Battles. I’ve also been reading T. Jefferson Parker and Robert Crais. I’m really just being introduced to modern mystery/thriller writers. I spent most of the past few years catching up on older stuff, like Jim Thompson. I still haven’t read any Raymond Chandler. I’ve recently gotten into Elmore Leonard, though, and I find his work amazing. "Out of Sight" is perfect. Beyond that it’s been Bukowski, Updike, Chuck Palahnuik, Jhumpa Lahiri. Everything I read influences me. I wish I could read a book a day.

  7. Scott Parker

    I usually read a physical book and listen to a second one. Right now, I’m about to finish Duane Swierczynski’s in hard copy and I’m listening to Red, White, and Dead All Over by John Darnton.

    My two favorite current book this summer: Gabriel Hunt at the Well of Eternity (for old-school pulp storytelling) and Trust Me by Jeff Abbott (for a smart, modern thriller)

    My favorite classic book this summer: Treasure Island (for the sheer exuberance of the adventure) and the Book To Be Named Tomorrow as part of Patti Abbott’s Friday’s Forgotten Books.

  8. Boyd Morrison

    Welcome back, Brett! I plan to read SOME BURIED CAESAR closer to Bouchercon so it’s fresher in my mind. I recently jumped on THE HUNGER GAMES bandwagon, and boy I’m glad I did. I read it and the second in the trilogy, CATCHING FIRE, in a day each. They’re marketed as YA/Fantasy, but they’re as good as any adult thrillers I’ve read this year.

  9. Gayle Carline


    This summer, I read a really, really, really lot of books. I read BOOK PROMO 101, THE GRAVE TATTOO by Val McDermid, SOME BURIED CAESAR by Rex Stout, THE BELLY DANCER by DeAnna Cameron, THE ADVOCATE by Tee Burrell, CALIFORNIA FIRE AND LIFE by Don Winslow, THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO by some dead Swedish guy, DIRTY MARTINI by J.A. Konrath, and ZAMORA’S ULTIMATE CHALLENGE by M.K. Scott. I also read FREEZER BURN by Gayle Carline, which is weird, because that’s me, but I was very excited to have a debut novel out and wanted to see how many typos the editor and I missed. (I also wanted to be seen reading it in public – a little free advertising never hurt!)

    THE END.

  10. Fran

    Well, pretty much everyone who gets our ezine knows what I read. If it’s not there, it’s either not something I wanna talk about or it’s science fiction. Or — less likely — regular fiction. I’m an elitist. Make my reading genre’, darn it!

    But I’m looking at all these titles, and all I can think is "I need MORE time to read!".

    Brett, I’m glad you got a moment to get back to reading!

  11. Becky LeJeune

    Such a fun post and I am super late to the game. Like Kaye above, I try to read at least 2-3 books a week. Some that stood out for me this summer were:

    The Cutting by James Hayman
    Sworn to Silence by Linda Castillo
    Georgia Evans’s Brytewood series
    The Birthing House by Christopher Ransom
    The Rapture by Liz Jensen
    When a Man Loves a Weapon by Toni McGee Causey
    Vengeance Road by Rick Mofina
    A Quiet Belief in Angels by RJ Ellory

  12. Brenda Estacio

    On August 20, 2009, my new fantasy novel, Gateway to DreamWorld was released.

    Synopsis: On their way home from baseball tryouts, Brad Colby and his two sons are involved in a terrible car accident that leaves six-year-old Pete in a coma. When Pete awakens, the family is crushed to learn that he is paralyzed.

    Meanwhile, Pete’s eight-year-old brother, Jason, has been having powerful dreams that lead him to a mysterious realm known as DreamWorld. Jason discovers that all of his desires can come true in DreamWorld, but the time is fast approaching when he will have to choose between his two worlds.

    And when more devastating news strikes at the heart of the Colby family, Jason and Pete set out on a desperate attempt to find the Gateway to DreamWorld and save their family. With time running out on their dangerous path, will Jason and Pete’s fear of the Unknown keep them from reaching the paradise of their dreams?

    I invite you to enjoy the fantasy at or Barnes& at a discounted price.

    Brenda Estacio

  13. drd4U

    Your group concept is a dream of mine, only, my desire is to use Personal Brain software to coordinate the fun, mirth and frivolity. Want twelve willing venturesome folks to deal with it, and then let’r’rip…your ideas, your writings are wonderful and personally; you thrill my soul. Go, go, go, go,…aw heck…you know the drill…drd

  14. jeu pc

    I was away from home in a foreign land where I was pretending to be a local resident, and just live day-to-day like this was my home. I didn’t do a lot of the touristy things. Instead I found my favorite places to read and to eat and just fell into a rhythm. I like traveling that way sometimes, it allows me to get more of a sense of a place.


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