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The Dark Between the Covers

Song Lyric of the Day:

Midnight where we used to dance / Underneath the ugly halogen lamps / Oh, it all went away so fast / In a black out

Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam / “In a Black Out“*

I’ve been an avid reader since childhood. I lived for the Scholastic school book fairs. I always had a book handy in high school for when I’d finish a test or assignment early. I managed to read a lot for fun in college, which is easy to do when you’re not a partier and you happen to work every weekend in a bookstore. Then I became an adult.

At the end of a workday, my priorities are figuring out dinner for the family, hanging out with the kids, getting them to bed, then doing housework that I can’t do during the workday. That’s not always how my evening goes, but more often than not, that’s it. By the time I finally manage to sit down to unwind a bit before going to bed, it’s usually pretty late and I’m fairly brain-dead. Which means I end up watching TV with my cat, Buster, in my lap; when your cat makes it to 20 years old, you sit and hang out when that cat wants to sit and hang out. I don’t last long before I doze off on the couch and then drag myself to bed.

This year I’ve made a point to read more. It’s something I love, so why not make it a priority? My most productive uninterrupted reading time is during a solo workday lunch: just me, my book, and some food. Occasionally I’ll even meet up with the spouse and our respective books for a reading lunch. I also take short reading breaks in the afternoon at work. Not every day, but some days. It’s good to not be looking at a computer screen during those little breaks.

While I enjoy reading a variety of genres, I tend to gravitate toward thrillers, the darker the better. I can’t tell you why exactly, just that twisty, scary stories are the ones that suck me in. I just finished reading The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter and am now reading Look for Me by Lisa Gardner. Next up in my to-read pile are The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn; The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen; and Two Girls Down by Louisa Luna.

Slaughter and Gardner are among my favorite authors. On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the darkest, Slaughter goes to 11 (see: Pretty Girls) and Gardner can hit 10.5 (see: The Neighbor). My bookcases in my home office are full of their books and other favorites: Tami Hoag, whose Kovac and Liska books are always great; Tess Gerritsen, best known for her Rizzoli and Isles series; Julie Garwood and Linda Howard, who both specialize in romantic thrillers; and Kate White, whose Bailey Weggins series I love.

Books!
Organized alphabetically and chronologically for each author because I couldn’t live any other way.

I recently started reading Paula Hawkins and Ruth Ware; I like their books so much I lent a dear friend the authors’ latest respective works. As for new authors, I enjoyed Riley Sager‘s debut, Final Girls, a lot as it appealed to my horror-movie-loving self: a woman survives a massacre, but all is not as it seems. I also really liked Kathleen Barber‘s Are You Sleeping, which centered on a decades-old murder being reinvestigated on a podcast and its repercussions.

I just realized I listed only female authors above. Nice. I do enjoy books by male authors, as well, including Daniel Silva, Dean Koontz (pretty much a lifelong favorite), David Morrell (his Thomas De Quincey series is phenomenal), Carl Hiaasen, and, of course, Stephen King.

Now you all know what most of my money is spent on: books. Bona-fide printed books. I love the feel of an actual printed book in my hands, and I still get a geeky rush when checking books out of the library. I’m trying to dip my toe into reading ebooks (I’m up to three). Printed books are one of the few ways I can truly unplug since I work on a computer all day; reading an ebook isn’t that appealing to me since it’s another screen.

In the interest of discovering yet more new authors to read, I recently requested some advance reader copies via Penguin Random House‘s First to Read. We’ll see what, if anything, comes of my requests; I think it’s a first-ask, first-serve setup. In the meantime, though, there’s always the library.

***

I first heard today’s Song of the Day in an episode of Lucifer. The music and scene together made for small-screen perfection.

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