Alex Kava

kava_alexFlights of fiction fancy

I've always thought it sad to hear authors confess they have no time to read for pleasure, only for research. Sad because for most of us our love of reading is what inspired us to be writers. It's a bit like a chef saying he or she no longer has time to eat or a pianist not able to listen to music. I should probably confess, I used to be one of those authors. I'd feel guilty reading when I should be writing. Then I'd go on book tour.

I hate flying so having 15 to 20 flights in the span of two to three weeks is a challenge in itself. Reading helps take my mind off being 30,000 feet above control. I started asking bookstore owners and managers for recommendations, picking up a book for my next psychotherapy in the sky. Who better to ask. Over the last ten years I've accumulated a list of treasures I might not have stumbled upon on my own.

shuman_18seconds One of the first recommendations was Thomas Perry's Jane Whitefield. I devoured the entire series, not in order but picking up one then another from city to city and bookstore to bookstore. Here's a sampling of recommendations that kept me sane: Jan Burke's Bones, Keith Ablow's Psychopath, P.J. Tracy's Monkeewrench, Julia Spencer Fleming's Clare Fergusson mysteries, Jay MacLarty's The Courier, Lisa Black's Takeover, C.J. Box's Joe Pickett novels, George Shuman's 18 Seconds, and Daniel Silva's Gabriel Allon thrillers.

Although I still hate to fly, I look forward to my next indulgence of bookstore recommendations and my annual reboot of inspiration.

Alex Kava's latest is Damaged (Knopf, 2010).

This "Writers on Reading" essay was originally published in "At the Scene" eNews December 2010 as a first-look exclusive to our enewsletter subscribers. For more special content available first to our enewsletter subscribers, sign up here.