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?

Going where the river flows (again)

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Every few months I seem to do it.

I put up a post where I show a stack of books that I’m planning to read, then in the next post, I mention that I’m going to see where the river flows within that stack.

Then in a follow-up post to those two posts, I decide to scrap over half of the original stack and say that I’m going to go the river flows within the stack that’s left and then I share the titles of the books I have left plus I add a few more that I might, or more likely might not, get to.

This is not that post…

…well, at least, not the part where I share the titles I have left and not the part where I have over half the stack left. I only have two on hold at the library that I really want to get to, a far cry from the 14 I started with, but I’m not telling you what those two are. You’ll hear about them and all the other books I read from now on…after I finish them.

This also means that I’m going back to not using GoodReads and just putting my list of books as I finish them on Listography as I’m not going to be sharing with you what I’m currently reading. You’ll just have to guess or just find out when I finish them. Another reason I’m ditching GoodReads is that to be honest, if I do look at a book I’m currently reading, I’m too tempted to read the reviews there about that book and then I get swayed too easily not to read the book by the negative reviews there. I know I should be able to not look at those reviews, but for some reason I’m always drawn to those reviews and then talk myself out of reading the book.

I’ve also made a radical decision that after the two that are left on my hold list, I’m going to choose books as the spirit moves me and truly go where the river flows. This does not mean that I won’t have books in mind, but no more hold lists. I might, MIGHT, have a wish list on OverDrive or other places that I might, again MIGHT, look at from time to time, but no more hold lists. I’m just going to pick up books that catch my eye in the moment.

So with all that said, what did I finish this week? One book: A Red Death, the second Easy Rawlins mystery, by Walter Mosley. Years ago, I had read the first, Devil in a Blue Dress, which also was made into a movie with Denzel Washington and wanted to read more but for some reason, never got back to them. Now I am…or might get to more in the future, but you’ll just have to turn in next week to see if I do…or if I don’t. However, most likely I will be reading White Butterfly, the third in the Easy Rawlins series, since I really enjoyed the writing in the second one.

Writing like this:

 I sat waiting for a call. No radio and no television. I turned a single light on in the bedroom and then went to the living room to sit in shadows. I had been reading a book on the history of Rome, but I didn’t have any heart for it that night. The history of Rome didn’t move me the way it usually did. I didn’t care about the Visigoths and the Ostrogoths sacking the Empire; I didn’t even care about the Vandals, how they were so terrible the Romans made a word out of their name.

I didn’t even believe in history, really. Real was what happening to me right then. Real was a toothache and man you trusted who did you dirt. Real was an empty stomach or a woman saying yes, or a woman saying no. Real was what you could feel. History was like TV for me, it wasn’t the great wave of mankind moving through an ocean of minutes and hours. It wasn’t mankind getting better either; I had seen enough murder in Europe to know that the Nazis were even worse than the barbarians at Rome’s gate. And even if I was in Rome they would have called me a barbarian; it was no different that day in Watts.

Chaim wanted to make it better for me and my people. Chaim was a good man; better than a lot of people in Washington, and a lot of black people I knew. But he was dead. He was history, as they say, and I was holding my gun in the dark; being real.

So what have you read this past week? Anything noteworthy? If you were one of the several book bloggers who decided to read Go Set A Watchman, what did you think?