Nightstand Reads: Confessions of a re-reader

Today’s guest blogger is mystery author Bernadette Pajer, who shares what she’s been reading — and rereading.

Edison_Effect_CoverI confess. I’m a rereader. Although my to-be-read pile is a teetering stack of intriguing new titles by talented authors, and although I’m sure in that pile are a few “keepers,” books that I will cherish and reread, I find myself at times unable to venture into those new worlds, and I turn instead to my beloved old favorites.

This summer was one of those times. While physically there wasn’t much happening—there were long days of no obligation to be anywhere—mentally, my schedule was packed. I was gearing up for the release of The Edison Effect, the fourth book in my Professor Bradshaw series, scheduling signings, writing blog posts, penning presentations, and taking care of all the little details of the business side of the job of being a writer. I was beginning to research and write a new book, a contemporary suspense, while pondering the next Bradshaw novel. But most importantly, I was spending time with my son, who’s 11, bright, goofy, shy and energetic. Eleven can be a fragile age, a back-and-forth between the comfort of familiar boyhood and the lure of the independence of the young adult. We’ve got food allergies complicating things, and I did a great deal of research this summer about the brain-gut connection. It’s huge! Through testing and experimentation, research and consultation, by the beginning of the school year, we’d found a diet that works to keep my son emotionally grounded, and we’d made some fabulous memories.

As for my own time, my escape time, my overtaxed brain couldn’t focus on anything new, and so I found great guilty pleasure in reruns and rereads. For reruns, I turned to Monk that precious OCD detective whose gift for finding clues is “a blessing, and a curse.” For rereads, I turned to Dick Francis and Ruth Rendell. From page one of any book by both of those authors, I am pulled in. Francis’ protagonists are always talented but humble men, with kindhearted ways of looking at the world even when cruelty is thrust at them. I hope my son will grow to be such a man (and I pray he never faces such cruelties.) Rendell’s stories are darker, yet so human, and her writing so tight and character-driven, I escape my own swirling thoughts, transported by the words of a master-craftsman. I’ve also pulled out a few books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie, because when it comes to comfort reads, you can’t beat Sherlock Holmes (who my imagination now sees as Benedict Cumberbatch) and Hercule Poirot (David Suchet, of course.)

Author Bernadette Pajer

Author Bernadette Pajer will be at the Fremont Branch, Oct. 14,

If you’re a rereader, or any sort of reader who loves to chat about cherished books, I hope you’ll stop by the Fremont Branch on Tuesday, October 14, and share your favorite comfort books. I’ll be there at 6:30 p.m. The event is free and open to everyone.

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