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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Just now most of my non crime reading seems to be biographies of old time film stars, I'm about a quarter of the way through Michael Munn's biography of Jimmy Stewart.
I like autobiographies, most recently those of Catherine the Great and Princess Dashkova. People who write autobiographies are curious characters. Of course, you cannot believe what they say about themselves and not always what they say about others, but separating the truth from ego-pandering is interesting.
I also read thrillers occasionally. And good historical novels like those by Patrick O'Brian and Rose Tremain.
Of the modern Japanese writers I like Kawabata best.
What's your favorite Kawabata book? Mine is either Snow Country of the Master of Go.
Master of Go and Sound of the Mountain.
I'm amazed (and somewhat reassured) at how many crime fiction readers were once science fiction readers, or still are! That certainly goes for me. And I want to recommend any or all of the novels by Robert Charles Wilson as some of the finest science fiction being written today.

I'm currently reading Flannery O'Connor, thanks to an interview I read with Daniel Woodrell who credits O'Connor as a major influence. Seriously weird and wonderful southern gothic stuff!

And way off the beaten path is a novel I'm reading called THE BEST OF JACKSON PAYNE by Jack Fuller, about a biographer tracing the life and music of a fictional jazz saxaphone giant. Wonderfully evocative and highly recommended, especially to anyone moved by jazz.
I've got biographies of Henry VIII and his wives and children littering my bookshelves between the crime novels. I pull these out while I'm writing...it's easier to write crime when I'm reading about Tudor England for some reason.
I read some horror and also what's on the bestseller lists. Got Jodi Picoult's SECOND GLANCE on my iPod now. Queen of melodrama, baby!
What's hiding at the back of my bookshelf?

Science fiction and fantasy -- Hubbard, Asimov, Douglas Adams, Margaret Weis, Terry Brooks -- are favorites. Classics such as Stoker, Shelley, Poe, Stevenson, Conrad are also hanging around. I also love Koontz, King, Lovecraft, Charlaine Harris, Kim Harrison, and Faith Hunter.

But my most guilty of pleasures are J. K. Rowling and my Calvin and Hobbes comic collections.

J. K.
(No relation to Ms. Rowling.)
I have Calvin and Hobbes as well. I also have a complete collection of the treasuries of Baby Blues, Zits, Get Fuzzy, and Foxtrot. There are also a few old Bloom County books gracing my shelves too.

As for J.K. Rowling, I now have the complete US edition and once my UK edition of the Deathly Hallows arrives I'll have that full set also. People seem to think it's about collectibles, but really it's just for me, something I wanted.
I tend to read a lot of non-fiction, even more than any sort of fiction. I particularly read history, economics and sort of oddball reference (just finished "Secrets of the Sideshows" about carnival acts.) The most remarkable thing I read recently was William T Vollmann's "Rising Up - Rising Down." I can't really recommend it in good conscience - it's about 3,800 pages in seven volumes and huge chunks of it are very self-indulgent. But it's an attempt, using history, philosophy, ethics and anything else he can think to throw in, to figure out when, if ever, violence is justified and how it is justified. It's certainly the most ambitious book I ever read. I loved it, but it took me about nine months, during which time I read plenty of other stuff.
First of all, congrats on your acceptance to nursing school! I've been an RN for 24 years and always like to see new nurses coming up--it means I'll be able to retire in a few years with less guilt knowing I'm being replaced. LOL I'm not particularly fond of "medical" books though--I also tend to avoid most medical TV shows because I get enough of it at work...and most times they're laughable as to their authenticity. One exception is that I have a fascination with anything Plague related and am a leper groupie. Love anything relating to lepers! Yeah, I'm weird. ::grin::

I'm a very eclectic reader and read all over the board. Favorite genres aside from mystery/crime would be fantasy and historical fiction. I especially like books set between roughly 1000 AD and 1700 AD. I read some so-called 'literary fiction' whatever that is. Some general fiction. I like some of the paranormal series books that sort of blend fantasy and mystery. About the only things I steer away from are romance, westerns and self-help books. I don't read a whole lot of non-fiction these days...some biography, some history, and I do have a few historical reference books that I browse occasionally.

Cheryl

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