I was blessed to grow up in a home with parents who enjoyed reading and who made sure there were plenty of things for me to read. I remember some books in the house, but mostly it was library books we checked out and a subscription to National Geographic.
These days I find myself reading action/adventure and mysteries more than any other fiction. Thinking back, I see this has been a trend much of my life. Here are a few of the series that I recall having the biggest impact on me.
I started reading the Nancy Drew series by Carolyn Keene when I was around 8 or 9. A local bookstore carried them, and I received or bought almost all that were published at the time. I think it was around 50. Well into my teens, I still enjoyed reading the adventures of Nancy, George, and Bess as they traveled the world and solved mysteries. By then I could easily finish one of these in a couple of hours, so it was a good way to pass time on weekend afternoons.
After my dad retired, he spent much of his time reading, offering me the books he had finished. I wasn’t interested in Louis L’Amour, but then he suggested I try one of Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe books saying, “I think you will like it.” He was right.
Set in 1930s Manhattan, Wolfe is a private detective who rarely leaves his brownstone. He sends his assistant, Archie Goodwin out to gather evidence. Wolfe takes the information and eventually solves the crime in front of the suspects and the police. The books are enhanced by Wolfe’s obsessions, namely the meals his personal cook prepares and the prized orchids he tends to twice a day.
Miss Marple/Hercule Poirot
Confession: while I love both Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot series, I have never read any of the books written by Agatha Christie. My experience with them has been through the wonderful British TV productions (see here and here). While I enjoy the settings and costumes of the period, I most love watching the protagonist sort through the stories and lies to deduce what really happened. As with other mystery series, I challenge myself to solve the mystery before the author reveals it.
What books (either stand-alone or series) do you remember enjoying the most? Leave a comment and let me know.