My To Read list is decades long, so I rarely stop to re-read a book, no matter how much I love it. Lately I’ve made exceptions, though, for books that mattered to me long ago. With some, I’ve been curious about whether they would hold up. With others, I’ve simply wanted to reunite with old friends.
Thus, over the last year, I have discovered that these books hold up well:
Stand on Zanzibar by John Brunner, a 1960s skew on a dystopian future, many details of which are now Life As We Know It. Brunner writes this in a style that was unusual in the ’60s and remains distinctive today. Some people lose patience with it. Give it 50 pages to settle in.
In Deep by Patricia Cooper, a brooding character study of a smart, troubled woman with tangled, suspect relationships. Cooper’s writing is edgy yet smooth and insightful. I wish she had continued to write novels.
After Leaving Mr. MacKenzie and Good Morning Midnight by Jean Rhys, portraits of independent, sensual women, damaged by life in a society where women were supposed to be neither.
If chick lit had books like the above, I would seek it out.
Double Indemnity by James M. Cain, a perfect slice of noir. Here, every word counts, making it an excellent training for any aspiring writer. Reading it reminded me I need to watch the movie again, with a brilliant script by Raymond Chandler.
Which brings me to Chandler. I have been happy to (again) reconnect with all seven of Raymond Chandler’s novels. He remains my favorite author. If you have never read him, start with Farewell My Lovely.
As you may have guessed, I recommend all of these books.