Looking Forward to June



Thursday, September 12, 2013

What Are You Reading This Weekend? About Sue Grafton

A Post with lots and lots of questions for you, especially for mystery readers!

Slight Diversion: We reached record high dewpoints on Tuesday and Wednesday. On Tuesday, it was more humid than we've ever experienced in our eight years here. Ghastly wet steam! So warm and wet that walking out the door was like smashing into an enormous steaming hot washcloth. Also, record-high temps for this time of year. More humid air than at any point all summer. I've been staggering under the weight of it. My brain? Dull, limp, useless!

A vast change is underway as we speak. So I'm hopeful that reading will be possible again.

I heard a fascinating interview with Sue Grafton, in which she talked about her books, her life, and her career--and her reactions to her much-maligned recent comments about the "laziness" of self-publishing today. Actually, although those remarks were taken out of context, the issue remains.
Oh, by the way, she is still mourning the loss of her favorite author, Elmore Leonard.

Grafton is 73 years old now, has a new book W is for Wasted, and hopes to finish the alphabet by the time she is 80, at which time she believes she may retire from writing. I found the interview on National Public Radio's "On Point" program with Tom Ashbrook absorbing. I'm now dying to read one of her novels. After hearing so much from Grafton and her readers about Kinsey, her lead character, I wonder if I should start with A is for Alibi, or should I select another? I don't intend to read the entire series, so if you have a favorite Grafton novel, do please let me know!

Do tell: How is Grafton regarded in countries aside from the U.S. Is she read in the UK and Australia? Ireland? In translation in Europe and elsewhere? OR, is she really too REGIONAL to be read outside of the US?  Dying to hear your thoughts.

9 comments:

  1. I think of Sue Grafton's alphabetical series as "comfort" reads when I need to just relax, focus on a book for distraction and tune out. They go quickly and are not taxing. Not gratuitous violence nor exploitation of women, easy reads.

    However, Kinsey Millhone is independent, feisty and brave.

    The books are always interesting. I can't really discuss the earlier books as I started reading this series later on, maybe the last 8-10 books. They vary and readers' opinions differ on each book, but to me, they're always a reliable, easygoing read and a distraction on a weekend when I need to veg out and read, tuning out the world.

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    1. Kathy,
      I'm strongly attracted to feisty heroines. I found that A is for Alibi was only $2.99 on my Nook! Here goes! I need the distraction, badly.

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  2. I enjoy Sue Grafton's books. They have been popular in Australia and several of my friends here loved them. Australians do pretty good with American books as they are travellers and often know about American than Americans ever know about Australia or their own country at times. (as an American Aus I can say that). I didn't realise Grafton was that old. Sad when good authors get very old and stop writing. Will have to listen to the link you posted up.

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    1. Pam,
      Thanks for your thoughts! I so strongly agree with you about the sadness I feel about the aging of top-notch writers. P.D. James has been my most profound sadness, although it's true she wrote the Jane Austen mystery, which I did not care for. I miss her.

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  3. Sue Grafton's Kinsey Millhone, Marcia Muller's Sharon McCone and Sara Paretsky's V.I. Warshawski came out within a few years of each other, each featuring a feisty, brave, independent, smart, capable woman detective.

    I've read many of these books, which really came out in the aftermath of the woman's movement here and the characters reflect that. When I've needed an old friend in a book, I go to these books.

    Today, V.I. is my favorite and I can always count on her to brighten my days.

    But, as I said, a weekend with Kinsey Millhone is a diversion and will be riveting and pull you in right away.

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    1. It's interesting, Kathy, that my husband is wild for Sara Paretsky's books. I must try her. Chicago, alas, is not my beat, but I should at least read one.

      I don't know Marcia Muller at all. Will have to check on that. I need all the feisty heroines I can get.

      Judith

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  4. Grafton was the first real mystery writer I read. Happy to know she is still writing and plans to finish the alphabet!

    Here's my It's Monday!

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    1. Deb,
      Your post leaves me wondering who are your favorite mystery writers in the present. Your thoughts?

      Judith

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  5. I grew up in Chicago, so the location is a plus with V.I. Warshawski, the sharp, independent, feisty, brave and sometimes outrageous detective.

    She gets into so many difficult situations, risks her life often. Also, social issues are usually part of Sara Paretsky's books.

    The author publicly speaks all over the country on civil liberties and First Amendment issues.

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