Have I written any mysteries? No, but…

Hey, I'm just saying it's out there as an available read.

Hey, I’m just saying it’s out there as an available read, that’s all…

As a writer and former English teacher, I get fair number of people asking me for book suggestions, and you might be shocked to know that I don’t always recommend LOSING TOUCH (though I usually find a way to mention it–like I just did there) or one of the anthologies in which a story of mine appears.

Just this week, a former student approached me looking for a mystery suggestion, which isn’t where I normally tread as a writer, but I definitely read mysteries. Google “read outside your genre” and you’ll find all kinds of advice about why it’s so important to do as a writer. In a nutshell, it familiarizes you, as a writer, with different styles, patterns, and conventions. For instance, I don’t know if it shows in my work, but I love me some John Steinbeck. Love. Love. Love. No horror in that guy, though, at least in the obvious sense.

And you know, it’s not a bad idea to read outside your comfort zone, even if you’re not a writer. Even if it’s not exactly your thing, it will help you gain a more global perspective, and maybe you’ll be a little more sympathetic the next time you’re gearing up for an argument, or need to find a creative way to solve a problem.

If you’re interested, my totally unscientific, offhand recommendations for mysteries were:

*These recommendations did not appear in the Facebook discussion, but merit mention here.

And as is the case with all such lists, it is meant to be the beginning of a discussion, not the end of one.

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