Diane Arbus said, "My favorite thing is to go where I've never been." She might have been refering to travel but since for me traveling is out of the question right now I'm applying it to my reading.
I have a definite and eclectic comfort zone in novels. I love the ladies of British literature -- A.S. Byatt, Anita Brookner, Diane Setterfield, Barbara Pym. A lot of my time is spent reading mysteries and there aren't many I don't like but I'm especially fond of Michael Connelly, Sara Peretsky, Elizabeth George and Dick Francis. To relax I read romantic comedy -- nothing syrupy I like two razor sharp wits engaging me. Mary Balogh's Slighly Dangerous had me chuckling for days.
But it's a new year so I was determined to read something different. Sarita mentioned Diana Gabaldon so I tried her Drums of Autumn. I've never read a time-travel novel but the author made you care about the characters so much that I was willing to follow them back to the 18th Century. Yesterday I read Chris Bohjalian's Before You Know Kindness. What an immensely talented author. His knowledge of ballistics, family dynamics and the nesting habits of crows left me awestruck. And finally I'm reading William Least Heat-Moon's Blue Highways. It's not a novel at all but a travel jounal with descriptions so terse and true ('a man whose cap told me what fertilizer he used') that I'm willing to hit the back roads with him.
So though I've enjoyed them all, I'm going back to my favorites real soon. Still I'm glad I made this detour because every reading experience helps me grow as a writer . And I'm open to suggestions for new authors.