Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Seasonal Affective Disorder - it's a Killer!

I'm not a fan of winter. It depresses me to see the sun go down in the afternoon, to see endless white and gray where green and colors used to be. No matter how many layers I wear, I'm always cold - or within memory of cold. I can stand in front of a hot radiator, soaking up the heat, but the sound of the wind whistling outside will still make me shiver. I think I'm part bear, primed to hibernate through the long winter and wake up when the bulbs start to bloom.



Winter finds me watching more TV than usual (mystery shows, of course), but in winter I always read a lot, too. Even when I'm tired, I'll stay up into the wee hours to finish a book.

I'm not a great one for self-analysis, but I've come to realize I respond to winter in specific ways.



1) When it's cold outside, I start compulsively solving Sudokos (sometimes giving myself a headstart by filling in a few blanks with the help of the solved puzzles at the end of the book. It's not a competition, I remind myself.) And lately I've started doing the USA Today crossword puzzles online, too. Why am I drawn to puzzles in winter? It's a mystery.

2) And speaking of mysteries, they are my go-to reads in winter months. I read pretty much anything, but my favorites are mysteries and romance. While conscientiously updating my Shelfari shelf, I noticed that I've been reading a lot more mysteries lately, with romance slipping behind. Maybe it's because all my favorite romance authors have spring releases - but that's not the case.  It's a puzzle.

So why do solving puzzles, playing number games and pretending to be a literary Miss Marple help me survive the cold and snow? Why am I drawn by murder and mayhem instead of cute little snowmen?

I haven't figured that out yet. Do any of you change your reading habits season by season?

I'm naturally more of a Pollyana than a Scrooge, but winter definitely makes me whine and winge. If you grump through winter the way I do, what helps you while away the days until the warm weather returns?

The end of February is usually a time of celebration for me - I am happy to see the sun sticking around a little longer each day, but right now I have no confidence March will be much warmer than it is now.

In the meantime, I have more mysteries in my waiting-to-be-read pile. At this rate, I might whittle that pile down to a reasonable size before the tulips bloom.


Sunday, February 08, 2015

"One is silver and the other's gold..."

I was never in Girl Scouts, but for a short period of time I belonged to a Brownie troop. I think it was while I was a Brownie that I learned this ditty:

"Make new friends,
but kee-eeep the old.
One is silver
and the other's gold."

At least, that's how I remember the words - not sure how reliable my memory is on song lyrics learned fifty-odd years ago.

I bring this up because I recently realized I have a silver-and-gold relationship with books and authors. I'm not sure how it's intended in the song, but I've always taken the lyrics to mean that old friends are precious gold, and new friends are silver.

By that token, my golden oldies include Agatha Christie, Mary Stewart, Ngaio Marsh, Doris Miles Disney, Patricia Wentworth, Paul Gallico, Dorothy Eden, Josephine Tey, Martha Grimes, Peter Robinson, P.D. James, Dick Francis, Ian Rankin, Evelyn Anthony, Ray Bradbury and James Thurber. My addiction to the books by many of these authors goes back nearly half a century.

I'm going to ignore the connection between 25 years and silver anniversaries. My "silver" authors include many I've been reading since their first books came out (whenever that was). Some of these authors I discovered within the last decade or so, and since then I've been devouring their backlists.

This list includes Suzanne Brockmann, Nora Roberts, Linda Howard, Jayne Ann Krentz, Wendy Corsi Staub, Rhys Bowen, Alan Bradley, Louise Penny, Lisa Unger, Brenda Novak, Brad Parks, Mary Kennedy, Duffy Brown, Lori Foster, Shannon McKenna, Tara Janzen, Kristan Higgins, J.R. Ward, Nalini Singh, Sarah Addison Allen, Jennifer Crusie, Anne Stuart, Lani Diane Rich, Deborah Crombie, Hank Phillippi Ryan, Marian Keyes, Maeve Binchy, Lisa Gardner, Shana Abe, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Deanna Raybourn, Harlan Coben, Sara Paretsky, Jeff Abbott, Marie Force, Melissa Nathan, Jean Harrington, Kresley Cole, Patricia McLinn, Nancy Atherton, Marie Ferrarella, Jane Graves...

Partial Bookcase Overflow


Well, dang. I've barely scratched the surface. I could fill a page with cozy mystery authors alone, another page with British mystery authors

Maybe if I broke it down genre by genre? Or by sub-genre?

And this doesn't even take into consideration authors I've recently become addicted to, like John Verdon, Susanna Kearsley, Terri Osburn, Kelsey Browning & Nancy Naigle,

Apologies to all of you I've left out - I haven't even attempted to list historical romances. I only started reading them a few years ago, but I could fill a blog post with all my favorites. As to my favorite romances, my favorite mysteries? How many headings are there in the Encyclopedia Britannica? That's about how many authors I'd need to list.

Yes, I'm a bookaholic. No, I'll never get through all the books in my waiting-to-be-read piles.

On the other hand, if you're looking for some new books or authors to check out, I would LOVE to share some suggestions. I don't read a lot of inspirational romances, and I don't read a lot of Westerns. I am not currently reading a lot of Chick Lit but I have read plenty over the years. Same goes for Young Adult novels.

Who are your old favorites? What authors have you recently become hooked on?

Let's talk books.