I've started a series of book reviews, all of them relevant to crime fiction in some way. I do this for several reasons. The first is that I hope people who discover this blog might enjoy these books, so I'll do my best to suggest why they should. To be honest, I'd love to see more people reading them because some may try to write as well as the writers on my list, with that kind of aspiration and dedication. Read something great, something inspiring, and then aim your writing expansive in response.
The second reason I'm taking the time to write these short reviews is that they help me crystallize what I think of these books, why I admire them.
Admiration is a critical thing for writers, poets, artists of any stripe. We borrow, steal, reinvisage, reinterpret all the time. But we have to have a shelf of good things to look at, ponder, and play with. Some of the ideas I talk about in these essays will make their ways into books I'm working on. Some of them may need more time to ferment before I have an idea worth distilling. But it's all mental work necessary to keep my mind fresh and engaged.
We need beautiful things if we're going to create beauty. Entertaining things if we're to be on the stage performing. Each of the books on this list has multiple things I admire. Some the language; others the characters or the plot development; some are just so damned bold or odd that I can't help but smile every time I pick up a copy.
I hope you enjoy the list I've started. I hope you're working on one of your own, the books that move you and keep you fresh in mind and spirit.