We all know we love mysteries, crime novels, whatever label you prefer. But I'm a girl who likes a little variety in her life so every now and then I have to have something different. Usually it's non-fiction. I'm a science geek, and I just got accepted to nursing school (thank you) so many of the books have to do with science and/or health care. Naturally I'm also interested in true crime-I don't always want a huge change. If I'm really feeling fried, I pull out the tried and true-A Wrinkle in Time, an old Stephen King, anything that is familiar and comfy.

So what about all of you-what do you read when you need a little break from the serial killers and the rapists? What little secrets are hiding at the back of your bookshelf?

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I love histories and biographies...how's that for geekiness? No historical romances based on real people... the real thing can be racy enough! I am also a dreadful Austen, Bronte, Alcott fanatic. Movie books. Speculative fiction...Harlen Ellison makes my knees weak. Great horror, like Stoker, Lovecraft, Barker, some King. And I am a closet, classic swashbucking fanatic of the Three Musketeers, The Phantom of the Opera, Prince of Foxes, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Sharpe's Rifles school.
Himself here is a Science Fiction fan so I sometimes find myself reading something he's raving about to see what the fuss is, but I'm also a bit addicted to Autobiographies - not necessarily show business, but political figures / local luminaries - that sort of thing.

And Terry Pratchett - although I'd argue that some of his stuff has a mystery bent - it's all fabulous.
I don't have much time for it now, but sci fi/fantasy stuff like Tolkein, CS Lewis, an assortment of classics (Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Ray Bradbury, Joseph Conrad... I always mean to read more). I love history.
I've thought a little more about what else I read-I've always wanted to read the classics, but it just doesn't happen. I did read The Stranger by Camus in high school (and in college-that time was even in French)-does that count?

I do like short stories-King is a master of short stories and I usually check out the Best American collections that come out every year.

To be a little more specific about my non-fiction interests, if it involves bacteria or illness, I'm a happy camper. Demon in the Freezer, stuff like that.

Really, I'll read pretty much anything that catches my eye, except romance. I have a serious magazine addiction so I'm constantly seeing book club ads that I look through and little book ads, etc.. Belonging to two forums and having a librarian for a mother also helps. My book piles are getting so bad my husband may have actually given up seeing a portion of our living room floor. Um, they're in the living room because if I put them on the bookshelves I'll forget they're here and I won't read them. Money wasted. Yet I keep spending. *sigh*
Science fiction. Also in the past ten years or so, a lot of books that I got for research purposes, such as scuba diving training manuals, histories and cultures of various places I've written about or considered writing about, books about sailing ships and sunken treasure, horse racing and training, travel guides, and, um, books about grammar. Some grammar books are actually very entertaining, like the book "Woe is I." (Sounds strange, but the title's actually grammatically correct.) Richard Lederer's books on the way people abuse the English language are also very entertaining. I also like to take cookbooks and read them through, to see what's in them.

We have a number of classics on the shelf that I haven't gotten to yet. They actually belong to my son, who bought a lot of them with his own money.
My non mystery comfort reads are mostly stuff that I go back to time and again - Jane Austen, Oscar Wilde, Robert Graves' I, CLAUDIUS, Robert Neill's MIST OVER PENDLE. Also old childrens books such as DADDY LONG LEGS by Jean Webster, or Sempe and Goscinny's PETIT NICOLAS books (which is about the only French I can read these days!). They're hilarious. Does Christopher Moorre count as non mystery? If so, I love his booksFor non fiction I tend to like a lot of stuff about 30s and 40s Hollywood - so bios of Cary Grant, Bette Davis, Carole Lombard. Or Eddie Muller's film noir books which are just such a treat to read. Two of my recent favourite non fiction books are Slavomir Rawicz's THE LONG WALK (I know there is some doubt over its veracity but I don't care, it's still a bloody good read) and Robert M Sapolsky's A PRIMATE'S MEMOIR which is about a guy who studies a group of baboons in Kenya (sad and funny). Also things like Oliver Sacks' THE MAN WHO THOUGHT HIS WIFE WAS A HAT. And I dip into Tacitus' THE ANNALS OF ROME from time to time.
Yes, The Long Walk is good.
I never cared for science fiction, could not get through Neil Gaiman, but decided a year or so ago that I needed to read some "women's fiction." A Map of the World, The Handmaiden's Tale, Elizabeth Berg, and this year, my favorite book in a while--Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. I see it's the number one paperback now, so I guess I'm not the only person who loved WFE. I can recommended it as a wonderful, tension-filled story set in a traveling circus from the 1930s.
I loved In the Heart of the Sea; great book.
Margaret Atwood, Terry Pratchett, Sherman Alexie, Haruki Murakami, Armistead Maupin. And some biographies. And some "journalistic" non-fiction - Freakonomics, Call of the Weird, Confessions of a Park Lane surgeon. And I have a weakness for Ann Rule true crime.
The Hot Zone was an amazing book-you live near there?! That would freak me out-that stuff fascinates me, but I don't know that I'd want to live next to it.

If you liked Devil in the White City you should check out Larsen's recent book Thunderstruck-he covers the case of Dr. Crippen and the creation of the Marconi wireless. The two are brought together when the wireless is used by a ship's captain to notify the authorities that Crippen, who murdered his wife, is on board his boat. Authorities were then waiting when the boat docked on the other side of the Atlantic to arrest Crippen and his mistress.

You do have a wide range of books listed!!
I did read Heart-Shaped Box-I thought it was a great debut. I think Joe Hill has a good future ahead of him. I haven't read Owen King's book, but I understand it's pretty different from what his dad writes, although I do like Tabitha's writing as well so I probably will read it at some point. What a family!


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