Know Any Good Books?

People often ask me whether I know any good books to read. Good writers tend to read a lot, so I suppose that it’s normal I get asked. But my answers often disappoint.

I do read, often and frequently. Because I write daily for a living, though, I find that my mind isn’t soothed and relaxed by complex works of literature. It’s not that I’m a dummy; I just break my head over words each day, so I really don’t want to amuse myself in the evenings by conceptualizing philosophies or learning effective business management.

My idea of a good read is something amusing and entertaining, a novel that lets my mind wander into the realms of imagination so clear that I can see the characters live and breath. When I set the book down and walk away, I feel refreshed and relaxed. Nothing more, nothing less.

So when I answer people with, “Sure, I know some good books. There’s this great fantasy fiction I’m reading right now…,” they aren’t impressed.

But if you are looking for a good read that provides the simple pleasure of a great story, here are some recommendations:

Anne Bishop’s Sebastian – my current literature, a fantastic page-turner about demons and other worlds that uses vivid prose and has characters you can’t help buy enjoy. I bought this one on a whim. By page 15, I was hooked.

Melanie Rawn’s Dragon Prince – the first in a great series, each one focusing on a pair of characters that are almost alive. It’s easy to read, has great plot, and it’s full of very human emotion every person can relate to. Harry pointed me to this author, and I’ve thanked him ever since.

Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders series – get them all. They’re easy reads with descriptive scenes you can almost touch. Fun, entertaining and light.

Nicholas Evans’ The Loop – my break from fantasy fiction, this one is a story of a wildlife student studying wolves and a rancher’s son whose father kills the predators off. I also just finished The Divide by the same author, which was a poignant novel of a family breaking apart.

Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander – this is the first in a series of historical romances. (So I have a soft side, sue me.) Characters are perfectly depicted, scene descriptions are vivid and well described, and the plot’s interesting, simple enough to understand and sneaky enough that you keep turning pages.

As you can see, great literature figures low on my list of preferred reading. But if you’re looking for good reads, these books are ones I suggest.

Post by James Chartrand

James Chartrand is an expert copywriter and the owner of Men with Pens and Damn Fine Words, the game-changing writing course for business owners. She loves the color blue, her kids, Nike sneakers and ice skating.

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  1. James-

    Yep, often reading feels like the ultimate luxury; many days settling in with a good book before bedtime is my favorite part of the day!

    Personally, I’m a “series” reader; I have to read all of the books in a writer’s series in order. Since I’m a mystery fan, that means Rex Stout, Sue Grafton, Dianne Mott Davidson, Tamar Myers, Janet Evanovich and Ed McBain.

    However, just yesterday I finished the last Harry Potter book and thought it was wonderfully done. It pulled in so many elements from the first 6 books, I have to wonder if J. T. planned it all out 12-15 years ago when she began! Now I’m rereading the last 3 again understand it better. To me, that’s the mark of a superb storyteller-to be able to connect pieces in long running series so seamlessly that readers want to go back for those “Aha!” moments…

  2. I’m a series collector myself. I’m still searching for some old Judith Tarr books because I’m missing one to complete the series! Order’s always good too. Keeps the flow going.

    Harry Potter’s on my shelf, waiting for my attention while I finish up the Anne Bishop novel. Which reminds me… that Bishop one was so good I need to go shopping for the rest.

    Happy reading!

  3. I like Kathleen E. Woodiwiss for historical romance. Her heroines kick ass and most of them tickle your funny bone. I’ve read “Shanna”, and “The Flame and the Flower” many times each, and was even ready to name my daughter “Alaina” after the main character in “Ashes in the Wind” in hopes that some of “Al’s” spunk would rub off on my kid. Actually, she was to be “Alaina Noelle”, “Noelle” from a tough Greeley girl (“Lord of the Dance”), and called, “Al’n”. Alas, “she” was born with parts that dangle, so that idea went out the window…probably a good thing, looking back.

    April, Chief Cook & Bottle Washer’s last blog post..Look, Mom, No Clothes! I Exposed Myself in the Blogosphere.

  4. @ April – I have four or five of hers…

    God, this is as bad as being outed for knitting!

  5. Whoa (awed)…James really does see everything….

    I plan to start dating again soon. I think part of the litmus test for relationship development (after the first couple of dates have gone okay) will be three questions:
    -Will he be honest?
    -Will he do crafts (knit, crochet, quilting, sewing, something,…I’m not particular)?
    -Will he read the romance novels I ask him to (really read them, not put it off…let it slide and you end up with songs that aren’t your song 🙁 )?

    I told my brothers to read romance years ago. I think it’s a good way to get to to know women (how they think, what they want…) — but they didn’t believe me….

    April, the Chief Cook & Bottle Washer’s last blog post..How to Lower Expectations

  6. @ April – Omniscient is my middle name. 😉

  7. Oh the pain of sinking in the Dragonrider mire! Of course I haven’t read those since college and I just finished the third in the not-a-trilogy-anymore dragon series by Paolini – so I’m totally biased.

    But normally, I’m the super classy chica that rocks out to the crappy crime novels with super-smart titles like C is for Crook LOL Or the horror novels. Or the James Patterson. New York Times Best Sellers … easy to read … easy to forget …

    Reading is like a big, soapy, loofah filled with love – cleaning the sticky parts off of my brain. Mmmmm soapy. When you’re learning at an extraordinary pace every day…books become brain cleaner. Something light, airy, and comforting to give the rest of my poor, old, overtaxed brain time to cool down and not burn out.

    jennydecki´s last blog post…The New Dirty Hippie: Tie Dye Optional


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