It’s Well After Midnight, and I Need My Book by Sarah Cain
Sarah Cain, author of The 8th Circle, shares the titles she reaches for when she should be trying to sleep.
My nightstand holds an eclectic array of reading material. I think this is partially because I have trouble sleeping, so depending on my mood, I want to be entertained, enchanted, soothed or even terrified. (I know I’m a bit strange, but I do write thrillers—the more noir the better.) Some of my picks include:
Coronado by Dennis Lehane. This is a fine series of short stories by a master of noir crime fiction. I especially love the way Mr. Lehane takes the short story “Until Gwen” and rewrites it as the play, “Coronado”. I found it gripping and was amazed at the way he was able to put a new spin on it. It’s like a master class in writing.
On Writing by Steven King. Speaking of the art of writing, this book delivers a different but no less powerful master class. It is also a slim memoir that is both touching and hilarious. Mr. King tells an abbreviated life story (a good one) in the first part, talks mechanics in the second, discusses his accident (a great story) in the third part, and finishes with a lesson. It’s worth keeping around for the sage advice.
The Last of the President’s Men by Bob Woodward. Just when you thought you knew everything about Richard Nixon, famed Washington Post Reporter Bob Woodward comes out with this story of Alexander P. Butterfield, the aide who disclosed the taping system that brought down Nixon’s presidency. In a shocking, detailed, and, at times, darkly humorous account, Butterfield, backed by thousands of documents, reveals Nixon’s obsessions and insanities. If you have any interest in politics, it is a must-read—if only for the bizarre revelations about the depth of Nixon’s insanity.
The Witches: Salem, 1692 by Stacy Schiff. The Salem witch trials have always held a morbid fascination for me. How did it happen? How did it get out of control? Stacy Schiff does a great deal of research, and at times this is a dense book to get through, but it does give a fascinating picture of 17th Century New England. The insanity that gripped Salem makes for strange reading.
The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George. The enchanting story of Paris bookseller Jean Perdu and his floating book barge is amazing. M. Perdu can find just the right book for the heartsick and stricken, yet he cannot heal himself. He is mourning his love who left him 20 years ago, and when he opens a letter that she left him, he embarks on a voyage down the Seine with his friend Max, a young writer suffering from a case of writer’s block. A story of love and friendship, this novel is a delightful romp through the French countryside and a nod to the power of books.
And finally, my quick, guilty-pleasure book,
Tricky Twenty-Two by Janet Evanovich. Because yes, I love Stephanie Plum and Joe Morelli and Ranger and all the wacky characters. #PlumRocks
So many books, so little time!
Sarah Cain is the author of The 8th Circle (2016, Crooked Lane Books), a thriller set in Philadelphia. After graduating from Smith College, Sarah started writing for non-profits, then moved on to public relations and politics. She raised three children and began writing fiction. In 2013 she won her two flash fiction competitions, and in 2014 met her agent, Rene Fountain, at Thrillerfest in New York City. Sarah lives in the Philadelphia suburbs with her husband, a former political consultant, and her ill-tempered cat—and spends a great deal of time contemplating murder. Visit her at: sarahcainauthor.com
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