Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Why should summer reading be different?

Hi everyone! I am YA author B A Binns , writer of contemporary and realistic fiction for teens. My tagline tells you what I am about - Stories of Real Boys Growing Into Real Men - and the people who love them. 

This month the topic is summer reading.

The problem is, I don’t change what or why I read based on the season. (Seriously, I don’t have an urge for Christmas books in December or any more than I do some beach blanket drama in July.) I recently wrote a short story featuring a Catholic-Jewish family having the expected layer of family drama over their get-together and was shocked when my editor said they couldn't publish it because they wanted a story for the Winter issue coming out in January, which would be too late.

Seriously, I thought. A good family drama fits in any time of year. I guess that sentiment just shows how out of touch I am.

When I want a book, you'll either find me at my local library  - yes, they do still exist - browsing for an interesting cover to see what reaches out and grabs me, or checking in with my list of favourite authors for what they have out new. Summer is not a valid reason for an exception.

The week before I had to write this post I went to the hospital for what was supposed to be simple day surgery. Arrive at 10, into the operating room by 11:30, an hour and a half on the table, another hour and a half in the recovery room, and home by early afternoon.

I awoke while being delivered to a hospital room. Apparently my problem was much bigger than originally thought, and instead of a minimally invasive laparoscopic procedure, I ended up being slit open and stapled back together.

There I was. Bedridden. In pain. Attached to more wires than a computer in the days before wireless internet. Too miserable to even worry about TV.

A librarian friend asked me if she could bring a book. Yes!

And I knew exactly what I wanted. I chose the new book from an old favorite author, Tess Gerritsen.

Blame my maniacal selection on food deprivation since I was NPO. To hospital personnel that nothing by mouth, only doctors have to use Latin words for even the simplest things. I had no food from Wednesday night until Sunday.  But starting Friday night, I had my hospital read. Die Again.

Maybe a story about people being butchered - literally - is not typical hospital reading. But my mind said it wanted death and destruction, mystery, suspense.  I wanted a vicious serial killer who literally ripped people apart to help me forget my sliced open stomach and the way my veins kept blowing when they tried to give me an IV. I needed to read about a predator and the women who refused to be broken. The women who instead worked to bring him down.

Not a typical romance. No one actually hooks up on the pages, except Millie and Johnny, and she ends up fearing she's fallen for the maniac. In case you have a strong stomach and want to read it yourself I won't tell you if is was Johnny, or her ex-boyfriend, or someone else she knew, or non of the above. The plot whirls through a variety of suspects as she is forced out of hiding to confront the terror that has haunted her nightmares for years.

Not a real romance, but there is love and heartbreak and three strong women who take on the madman.  In addition to Millie, we have Jane the cop who is married to Gabriel the FBI agent. He is  suave, sophisticated, silent and yet utterly devoted to her (and I’d take his brother in a heartbeat.) There is also Maura the medical examiner not in the mood for love at the moment after breaking off her forbidden romance with a priest and discovering that her birth mother was also a serial killer. (Soap opera stuff, am I right?)

Like J R Ward’s novels, Ms. Gerritsen has written a police procedural with an emphasis on the main characters’ personal lives and loves. It's about women discovering or recovering their source of strength, and it's not a man, no matter how handsome and stalwart, and many of the guys in her books are serious hunks. These kinds of suspense stories are not typically considered summer reads. I don't suppose many people think about sitting on the beach with a breeze blowing through their hair while reading about predators striking before you even know you're being pursued. But I'm always in the mood for a story about a woman growing stronger.


Sarah Raplee said...

I'm so sorry to hear your surgery became major. I hope you are feeling much better now.

Stories about women growing stronger are inspiring. Die Again sounds like a great suspense read.

Diana McCollum said...

I hope you have a speedy recovery. Not fun to go to the hospital for one thing and have it changed on you. I always have a lot more 'things' pulling on my time in the summer. Here in Central Oregon summer is only about 6 weeks. So outings and gardening, fishing etc are crammed into that short period of time and sorry to say, my reading time is impacted.

Pippa Jay said...

Feel better soon!

I don't base my reading on the season much either, and judging by the fact that my Halloween themed story sells as many copies every month of the year as October, I guess most readers aren't worried either, lol.

Judith Ashley said...

Sending healing energy your way, B.A. I can see why you'd want to read a book about women growing stronger each day! And I'm sure that would be you during your hospitalization.