Sunday, December 19, 2010


Books, books & more books...

It’s the week before Christmas and everyone is worried about big important issues: Afghanistan, the debt load carried by Canadians, measles outbreaks, hockey. Me, I have smaller fish to fry. I know you think I’m going to say ‘what to read’ and you’d be half-right (or half-wrong depending on your disposition). In fact, I’m worried about what to read where.

You see, you never know when you’ll have a bit of found time: five minutes here or there because you finished something early or you’re waiting for a call to be returned, or five weeks downtime because you can’t shake the flu. Whatever. But you really have to be prepared. Not only is there a need, but different spaces cry out for different types of reading material and that material has to be right at hand. My kitchen reading area is reserved for newspapers in the morning and occasionally editing a manuscript. Somehow it seems just plain wrong to read a book there. But the kitchen’s not the only game in town.

Right now, I have three books on the go:

My bedroom is the site of my towering TBR pile, but the top three reads are always within reach. Tonight I get to start Slow Recoil, by C.B. Forrest, a book I have been looking forward to reading. I loved the first Charlie McKelvey novel (The Weight of Stones) and I couldn’t help but notice that our Blog Mom, Linda Wiken, reviewed Slow Recoil yesterday. Although I already knew I was on to a good thing, it’s nice to have it confirmed. Have I mentioned my copy is signed? Feel free to be jealous, folks.

Of course, you can’t spend all day in bed, so the living room sofa must always have a book on the coffee table (plus a few more in case of emergency). Today’s book has been Kate Atkinson’s One Good Turn. I am reading her books in reverse order after being totally captivated by When Will There be Good News? Part of the enchantment of this book (which nicely breaks a lot of rules) is that it has a mystery writer, Martin, as one of the characters. I noticed Martin wasn’t in the later book, so I sure hope he makes it to the end of this one. Fingers crossed. By the way, good news for fans, the Atkinson series will air on BBC in 2011.

Then of course, as there are only five shopping days until Christmas (370 until Christmas 2011), I will have to get out there and elbow my way through the crowds. I have already been to several bookstores and I will be off again (probably as you are reading this) to score the last stack of gift reads. I will have, in my handbag, a battered copy of Dorothy L. Sayers’ The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club. Lord Peter Wimsey should be able to take my mind off the fact that I am standing in long lineups, bless his aristocratic heart. The book is quite obviously pre-read so no retail establishment is going to suspect that I pilfered it.

This all doesn’t sound like much of a problem, I admit, but here’s the thing: I have a new sofa in my office. That’s right. And I don’t have a book selected to read on it. In between research, editing, promo and all that biz stuff, a person needs a break. I know I can count on you to make suggestions. What should be the first book to be enjoyed on the new sofa? All recommendations will be taken very seriously. I’m standing by … well, sitting, so let’s have it.

Mary Jane Maffini rides herd on three, soon to be three and a half, mystery series. You can check them out at


  1. My choice for that sofa would be any one of Australian writer Peter Temple's books. I loved Broken Shore and Truth but also like the Jack Irish novels.

  2. I love the series by Colin Cotterill, set in Laos in the 1970's. Well worth adding to any TBR.