Friday, October 7, 2016

Reading Old Books

I stop by the thrift store on a semi-regular basis to load up on books.  Which means, for the most part, old books.  The local thrift store here rarely has anything new.  The majority of their offerings are, I'd say, from the '70s, '80s, and '90s.  Those work for me sometimes, but I prefer older.  Especially when it comes to crime novels. 

They're easy to spot.  Their covers have a certain style - even when I can only see the spine.  Pull 'em out, take a look, and if they're something that sounds interesting to me, put 'em in the stack.  At 25c each, I don't even care if I end up with a dog. 

Of course, sometimes they fall apart in my hands.  They're old, so it's expected.  I was reading one the other day and I kept having to jam the pages back together so I could hold it.  Most of the time, though, they're solid. 

My copy of I, The Jury is like that - old and falling apart.  I keep looking for a new old copy, but that one's hard to find.  Most people who have that book want to keep it.  (If you haven't read it, get thee hence.)

Anyway, like I intimated, some of these older crime stories are dogs.  For the most part, though, I'm finding 'new-to me' authors to love who have a backlist that could keep me reading until the day I part ways with existence.  Rex Stout - author of the Nero Wolfe books - is a new favorite of mine.  Sax Rohmer - author of the Charlie Chan books - is another.  I just picked up four books from a series by an author I found by reading one of his 'non-series' books - Donald Hamilton.  It was excellent, so I hope his series is excellent, too. 

Oh, I'm still reading newer books, too.  I sprinkle them between the older books. 

I like to think reading the old books makes me write better.  And reading new books keeps me fresh.  But, then again, I read everything according to my whims, so whether any of this actually helps with my writing is for the readers to decide.  All I know is I love reading.

What are some older crime titles you've read and loved?  Any suggestions for me to keep an eye out for when I'm at the thrift store?

2 comments:

Karyn Good said...

I would say being an avid reader is paramount to being a great writer. There have been a couple of times on social media where I've seen a writer mention, with a weird sense of pride, that they don't have time to read. Those authors land on my Never To Be Read list. Good for you for reading old books, they still deserve the love! Especially, the good ones. Having said that, I'm trying to think of an older book I've read recently and can't come up with one. Another confession, I don't think I've ever read a true crime novel. Which means I should be the one asking you for recommendations! AND, enjoy the heck out of those books!

B.E. Sanderson said...

Yeah, I don't get that. I mean, when I first started writing, I was still finding my voice and found myself influenced by other authors, so I didn't read while I was writing. But as soon as a draft was done, I'd be inhaling reading material.

Oh, these aren't 'true crime', just old detective stories - Perry Mason, Mike Hammer, Matt Helm type stories. Hard boiled mysteries, I guess. The only true crime I've ever read was Ann Rule's book about Ted Bundy.