I still am finding who I am as a reader

We are finding who we are.

So goes the song by the progressive rock band King’s X.

And so I (still) am finding who I am in terms of my reading, which has been especially true this past month.

I started the month with 61 Hours by Lee Child, then read A Red Death by Walter Mosley, The Golden Scales by Parker Bilal and finished out the month with Ms. Marvel Vol. 2: Generation Why? by G. Willow Wilson. Along the way this month, I’ve learned that:

  1.  I (still) am a crime fiction reader, but…
  2.  I want to read more diversely within the crime fiction genre, which is what made me pick up Mosley and Bilal.
  3. I am not a comic book geek and…
  4.  I am not a graphic novel reader, especially in the D.C. and Marvel universes, but also within other universes and other series.

Caveat: this is not to say that I didn’t like the second volume of the latest incarnation of Ms. Marvel. I did, although not as much as the first volume, which even I, who admittedly is not a comic book geek, recognizes was, and is, a groundbreaking debut of a new version of a beloved comic book character.

However, the second volume did confirm for me that I don’t think I want to continue trying to read graphic novels that are a part of continuing series or universes. As a non comic book geek, I feel no shame in saying that I didn’t know some of the (I guess, beloved, well-known) characters thrown at me. I already took the book back to the library so I can’t even tell you names. My eyes blurred over at the time too.

Maybe what it is that as I grow older, I have enough of a hard time keeping track of people’s names in this universe that I don’t need to keep track of people’s names in an alternate universe or universes as the case might be. It could be that already working at the library, I have names thrown at me all day; I don’t want more names tossed at me when I get home.

As for being a crime fiction reader, and wanting to read more diversely within that genre, I discussed that last week so won’t rehash that again here. However, I do want to mention a few suggestions that commenters came up with:

  • From Belle Wong of the blog Ms. Bookish: the Ricardo Ramirez (an inspector in Cuba) series by Peggy Blair, a white Canadian female author; Kate Martinelli series by Laurie King, who is a white female American mystery author, and Martinelli is a lesbian police officer.
  • From Chris Wolak of the blog Wildmoo Books: Authors Henning Mankell, Keigo Higashino, and even Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep, which she says is “full of gay/queer themes (beyond the obvious gay characters), so there’s also the possibility of reading a canonized dead white male with a diverse eye.”
  • From Caspette of the blog The Narrative Causality:  The Phryne Fisher murder mysteries by Australian author Kerry Greenwood  and the Sophie Anderson (an Australian FBI profiler) series by Australian author P.D.  (Phillipa Dean) Martin.

Those are all on my wish list, although I’m not putting any on hold at any library. I’m still reading wherever the river flows. Most likely it will flow in the direction of the next in the series of the books I’ve already been reading, with the exception of the Jack Reacher series, at least for now, but as always, we’ll see…naturally, I’ll keep you posted.

So how was your reading last month? What was your best read of the month? Your worst read? Mine was a tie for best between A Red Death and The Golden Scales, with the worst being 61 Hours.

Reading Diversely Within Crime Fiction

Last week on the blog The Socratic Salon, the ladies there were discussing whether as a reader you read inside or outside the box in terms of reading many genres or sticking to one or two genres. I responded that like Shannon of River City Reading, I do feel the pressure to be a well-rounded reader. However, as I mentioned in my response there on The Socratic Salon, instead of giving into the pressure completely, I am attempting to be more diverse within the genre I read, which is crime fiction, than I have been in the past.

9781408824894For example, my last read was The Golden Scales by Parker Bilal, the pseudonym of British-Sudanese author Jamal Mahjoub. Then the book I read previous to that was A Red Death, the second Easy Rawlins murder mystery, by Walter Mosley, an African-American author. I’d also like to read more crime fiction by female authors and have a few in mind already, but if any of you have ideas of others that you think I shouldn’t miss, please let me know.

downloadThe main thing is that I am trying to read not only white male American authors, as that is what I mostly have read in the past, but also red, yellow, black or white (“they are precious in His sight”) male authors from other countries and red, yellow, black, or white (“they are precious in Her sight”) female authors from this country and other countries. That does mean that yes, I still will read white male American authors. I like Michael Connelly, for example, and I’m not ashamed to say that, but I also recognize I want to branch out beyond that with which I’m already familiar.

The key here is I still am reading what I want to read: crime fiction, just looking at the genre through different lenses. I might even try a graphic novel that mixes in the crime fiction, if I can find a few that don’t cost too much…and again, I’m open to suggestions.

As for what I’ll be reading next, it probably will be the next in Bilal’s series about his private detective Makana, Dogstar Rising, but I also do have White Butterfly, the third in the Easy Rawlins series, on hold at the Free Library of Philadelphia. However, as always, I’m making no promises and reading wherever the river flows. Right now as I’m drafting this Saturday, it seems to be flowing this direction, but by the time this is posted Sunday morning, it might be flowing in a completely different direction. As Asia (whose name was diverse anyway 😉 ) used to sing, only time will tell.

Instead of leaving you with that stuck in your head, I’ll leave you with this, which definitely is diverse and is one of the pieces I can’t stop listening to lately:

Do you read inside or outside your own box? Answer here and/or visit The Socratic Salon post above and comment. Also do you read diversely? Beyond these questions, as always, what are you reading this week? Anything noteworthy?