I read a lot. Often I have a couple of novels going at a time (one mellow one for before bed reading, and one more exciting one for first thing in the morning with breakfast). And my to-be-read pile is staggering. Okay...it's a whole shelf. OKAY--it's two whole shelves. And a partial other shelf. Don't judge me. "Hi, my name is Deborah and I am a book junky."
My fiction reading tastes are fairly eclectic: I grew up reading mostly science fiction and fantasy, then expanded into mysteries, paranormal romance and urban fantasy, and some contemporary romance and women's fiction. (I write in all those genres too. Except mystery, and I do have the start of a mystery novel hidden in a drawer somewhere.) I tend to read different things depending on the mood I'm in, and what I'm writing at the time.
[My critique partner, the amazing Lisa DiDio, and I had an interesting conversation about this recently. We have completely different approaches when it comes to what we read while we are in active writing mode. She avoids anything even close to what she's writing, and reads different genres so that other people's work can't affect her own. I, on the other hand, tend to immerse myself into whatever genre I'm writing at the time, so that my head stays in that "place." Interesting, yes? If you're a writer, which approach do you take?]
I also have what I consider to be "comfort reads." Like comfort food, only in book form. These are the authors I love so much that I will return to their books over and over again. I even buy their books in hardcover, if I can (gasp!).
During my recent weeks of dealing with The Cold from Hell, now renamed The Cold that Would Not Die, I reread a whole bunch of my favorite romances, written by three of my favorite authors: Jennifer Crusie, Lani Diane Rich, and Katie Fforde. All three tend to write fabulous quirky characters and have wonderful humorous voices. If you haven't heard of Katie Fforde, it is probably because she is British, but if you like warm, funny, true-to-the-heart romances, you should definitely seek her out. In fact, you should seek them all out.
There's a reason why I reread these books over and over, and that's the quality of the writing. As an author, I am always aware of how writers use words and imagery and build a world that draws the reader in. These three do all that as well as any writers I've ever read. I want to be them, when I grow up.
In the meanwhile, I try to learn everything I can from reading and rereading their many books. And they never get old, because these three authors are just that good.
Have you ever read any of their books, and if so, what did you think? And who are your favorite "comfort read" authors? Inquiring minds want to know.
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