Thursday, June 06, 2013

What I've Been Reading: Outside the Romance Genre

Though I've been reading mostly romances recently, there were also a few books that didn't fit that mold:

The first one is a mystery--with a little romance on the side. It's a book I've had for years, so many years, in fact, that I didn't remember a single thing about it. (Which says more about me than it does about the book.) Who knows what other completely forgotten novels wait on my bookshelves for a second reading?

Feather on the Moon
by Phyllis A. Whitney


The next book would fall into the mystery category, too--unless thrillers have a genre of their own.

by Alan Russell


If You Lived Here is different from anything I've ever read. It's the story of an important friendship that develops between two very different, mature women. Now that I think about it, there's a little bit of romance in this book, too, but in this case the romance is only a subplot.

If You Lived Here
by Dana Sachs


The next book is a true story (or "based on a true story") written by a grandmother who, believing the court system had failed her abused granddaughter, took the child and left the country for several years. This book was especially interesting to me because in 1967-68--twenty-some-odd years before the incident that's the basis for this book--I worked for a district judge in that same Texas court system. I knew some of the people the author referenced by name and figured out the identities of certain other characters whose names she had changed.

In fact, I knew at the beginning of his career the now prominent attorney who represented the grandmother in the latter stages of her criminal proceedings after she was forcibly returned to the United States. I specifically remember a brief conversation with him once when a bunch of us from work went out for drinks at the end of a long day. He and I had approached the jukebox at the same time, and each of us was insisting that the other make a selection first. Neither of us would name the song we intended to play, joking that it would spoil the surprise. When the music started, we shared a good laugh. Both of us had played the same song: "Danny Boy."

Back to the book: the writing may not be the best from a technical standpoint, but it's a compelling story told by a quite capable storyteller, and it kept me turning pages late into the night.

Seashell Prisoners
by Frances Collins


That brings us to what I'm reading now. This one is a memoir. I'm only about halfway through it, but I'm loving this book. In the early chapters it made me laugh long enough and loud enough that Levi and Gimpy both got out of bed to see what all the fuss was about. Since then I've laughed a lot more--and shed a few tears, too. I'm now in a quandary, because I want to read the rest of the book as fast as I can to see what happens next, but I also want to read it really slowly so it won't end too soon.

The Dog Lived (And So Will I)
by Teresa Rhyne


To read a description and reviews of any of these books,
click on its image above.

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