People are generally surprised when I share this, but I have a ‘thing’ for submarine stories. I’m not sure what it is – maybe it’s because the isolation of a submarine is so much akin to the isolation of a starship, and I’m a big science fiction geek. But there you have it. I like submarine stories.
Unfortunately, I tend to compare every submarine story to Tom Clancy’s The Hunt for Red October, and most come up short. Still, Robin White’s Typhoon was an enjoyable, if predictable, read, and it had me dreaming about diving and navigating in three dimensions for two days in a row.
I’ve always considered Nora Roberts to be my guilty pleasure author, partly because her books are as much mystery/suspense as they are romance, and educated readers don’t read romance novels…do they?
But the truth is, when you want to curl up in bed with something that is total entertainment, Roberts is one of the best authors to choose. I picked up Sanctuary, not realizing I’d read it years ago, because I was stuck in the apartment, and wanted to soak in the tub and escape. And even though it was an unintentional retro-read, I enjoyed the story.
It’s pretty simple. A young photographer who doesn’t get along with her family is being stalked, but the stalker keeps removing the proof of his existence, and she finally retreats to the family inn, SANCTUARY, to rest and regroup. Since this is a Nora Roberts novel, the rest of the tale is equal parts relationship (with her father, brother, sister, friends), romance (with a man she’d met years before, when both were children), and suspense (the stalker has followed her home).
It’s not the most intellectual fare, but it’s fun, and the detail Ms. Roberts gives to settings and people makes even the most predictable tale come alive.
Marion Zimmer Bradley
After a break during which I read some more modern novels, I went back to Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Darkover series, and read all the books that had been missing from my own collection, largely thanks to the folks at Half Price Books.
I’m not going to list every title, but I am going to mention that my favorite of the second batch of books was Stormqueen, though I’m certain this had to do with the weather outside the apartment matching the weather in the book.
Small things like that influence me far too greatly.
Still, it’s a great series, especially if you really want to immerse yourself in another world.
Marion Zimmer Bradley
During the months of August and September, I was under a self-imposed book-buying moratorium, while we packed the house, and moved from California to Texas. However, I was still engaged in retro-reading, and, because I hadn’t read the series in a long time, I indulged in re-reading the entire Darkover series, by Marion Zimmer Bradley.
Darkover is one of my favorite fictional worlds, partly because there are so many novels in the series, and partly because the culture is believable. Rather than listing every novel in an independent entry, I offer the list (in series order, not publication order) of the novels I read before arriving in Texas.
Two to Conquer
The Shattered Chain
The Spell Sword
The Forbidden Tower
Star of Danger
Winds of Darkover
Heritage of Hastur
The Shadow Matrix