Usually the only exercise and adventure I want, or desire (notice I did not say need), are definitely to be found in one book or another. You have to read a lot of books to get just what you’re looking for in terms of exercise for the little ‘grey cells’, and when you find an author you like you stick to him like glue. Of course different areas of the brain will cry out at different times to be stimulated. That calls for a variety of genres and authors in order to satisfy the restlessness that ensues when ennui hits. Ennui of the brain is a terrible thing.

For sheer laugh-out-loud humor I enjoyed Tamar Myers for years and years. Then she got ennui and moved on. Writers need to exercise their brain cells too. When the author gets tired of her character, the reader knows it. Tamar’s books were definitely good for exercising the lungs.

For humor mixed with more fantasy than you’d ever hope to find in one lifetime read Jasper Fforde. Heaven forfend that he should ever get bored with Thursday Next! I know I never will. Jasper Fforde lives in Wales and seldom crosses the pond to speak in this hemisphere but, in September, he will be speaking in Vancouver. As my daughter points out, Vancouver is just as far as Wales and if I want to hear him, meet, him, learn from him, wouldn’t it be more fun to do all that over there? Yes, of course it would, but the couch potato thing will kick in and I’ll never go. To either place. But thinking about JFf., on the same side of the ocean, does get the blood flowing. Makes me want to get up and do something. Book a flight?

Faye Kellerman, a new discovery, and Tana French write psychological thrillers, one in L.A. and the other in Britain. I’m not whole-heartedly into that genre but have a great deal of respect for both authors who write exceptionally well and touch, but do not dwell, on the evil imbedded in their stories. That much I can deal with. Other, more heavy-handed thrillers I stay away from. Too much of a thrill, while being in repose, can be more than the heart and mind can take. Makes one get up and pace, or even take a walk. In the winter the quickened heart rate has made me reach for the snow shovel and get out in the (really) fresh air to clear not only the brain but the snow as well. No chance of ennui while reading a thriller.

So many good mystery writers, so little time to read them all. A really good mystery will incorporate a lot of the above specifics, keeping the reader on the tips of her toes from beginning to end. I like Aaron Elkins a lot. He, and his wife and sometimes co-author, Charlotte, travel the globe to seek out new destinations for his trusty sleuths, saving me the time and effort of doing so. Though, I admit, occasionally he prompts wander-lust in my lazy soul. One of his last stories took place in Iceland, a place where I actually have been (note my avatar), and made me want to re-visit.

Being a bookish couch potato is a lot more involved than a casual observer might think. A lot goes on in that prone body while, seemingly, only the eyes are darting back and forth. There’s a lot of potential in repose with the right book.

About Eleanor Ingbretson

Native New Yorker. Transplanted to New Hampshire years ago, but still considered a flatlander by the neighbors. Writer of fantasy and mystery and whatever else takes my fancy.

Posted on June 8, 2015, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Vancouver, what I saw of it, is a beautiful city. I heard from other cruisers that other parts of it were not so lovely. Just like any other large city…..


  2. Heading to Vancouver this week–will let you know whether you should head east or west to see Jasper!!


  3. Sometimes it’s interesting to hear a favorite writer talk about his/her writing, but all too often,it’s not. The interviewer’s questions and the writer’s answers are so often just variations on old themes. Sort of like listening to sports interviews. Donald Swann said that “Talking about music is like dancing about architecture.” Talking well about writing is even harder. I mean, I can imagine a dance about architecture.


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