My Reading List from Bouchercon

I came back from my first Bouchercon, the conference for mystery lovers, with several books to add to my already lengthy “wanna read” list. Here are the books and the reasons they’ve made the list.

The Marsh King’s Daughter, by Karen Dionne. Because the book won a prize at the conference.

Under my Skin, by Lisa Unger. The novel is about a woman murdering her husband, or maybe she just wants to murder him. I can’t remember. My writing group talked about doing a book in which ten or twelve women write stories on how to murder your husband, so I’m viewing this as research.

She Rides Shotgun, by Jordan Harper. This book was shortlisted for several prizes and won one. Also, Jordan Harper was on one of the panels and the author seated next to him said to the audience, “If you buy only one book at this conference, let it be this one.”

Murder in the Marais, by Cara Black. Her books are set in Paris and sound intriguing.

Any book by Nick Herron. I don’t remember why this wound up on my list, but it was in my notes.

Pieces of Her, by Karin Slaughter. I listened to her on two panels and she was hilarious. Also, her book made my list because she’s from my home state of Georgia.

Marjorie Morningstar, by Herman Wouk. This isn’t a mystery, but I’ve been planning to read it for a long time so when someone at the conference mentioned it, it moved up several notches on my “wanna read” list.




What They Didn’t Teach us in English Class

                 In front of Robert Burn’s cottage in Ayrshire

I sometimes need a dictionary to decipher it, but I love Robert Burn’s poetry which runs the gamut from lyrical love poems to acerbic blasts against injustice. As only a Scotsman can, he derides and lambasts with humor, holding nothing back in his blunt political and civil commentary. He was a liberal, a feminist, and a socialist. I learned all of this in high school from a very good-looking English teacher. (Note: the English teacher in The Lady was so closely modeled after him that my classmates recognized him immediately.) What we didn’t learn was that Burns was an inveterate womanizer. English class was like Sunday School in that they left out all the good stuff.

Burns fathered twelve children from several different mothers – his wife Jean, his mother’s servant, a woman from church, a friend. His first child was born to a servant about the same time he got his future wife pregnant with twins. At last count he had six hundred descendants from these various women. Which leads me to a question. Were some of those lovely love poems he wrote a peace offering to his wife? Did he, instead of bringing home a bouquet of roses, present her with My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose or Ae Fond Kiss? Oh my, English class could have been so much more fun had we discussed questions like this.