Cherished works of adventure, mystery, and travel.
This week, the novelist Jonathan Kellerman publishes Deception, the twenty-fifth mystery featuring child psychologist-turned-sleuth Alex Delaware. When we asked the author — himself a child psychologist-turned-bestselling-novelist — to give us a list of his most beloved reads, he told us “Asking me to pick three favorite books is like requesting me to choose among my kids. Any list is, by nature, exclusive of deserving works. So let’s just call these three cherished books.”
By Alexandre Dumas
“Is it an adventure novel? A mystery? A vivid historical portrait of a tumultuous period? A romance? A literary exploration of the psychology of suffering and revenge? Answer: The Count of Monte Cristo is all of the above, and much more. And that’s what makes it a classic and a masterpiece. It also serves as an illustration of the foolishness of classifying novels by genre, a perniciously snobbish trend that found special currency after World War II when self-designated intellectuals felt impelled to flaunt their European-influenced avant-garde credentials. Good books are the ones we care about. Period.”
By Ross MacDonald
“In my opinion MacDonald (nee Kenneth Millar) is the greatest hardboiled crime novelist of all time. In terms of plotting characterization and establishing an evocative sense of place, he is light years ahead of Chandler and Hammett, though, unfortunately, less well known than those two. The Underground Man has special meaning for me because finding it helped me develop my own voice as a writer. Up until that point, a failed novelist with a good day job — clinical psychologist. Reading the first page of The Underground Man set off a grand epiphany: this guy was writing brilliantly and evocatively about the darkest manifestations of psychopathology in Southern California. Those were the themes that I found meaningful, perhaps I could give it a stab. The result was the first Alex Delaware novel, When the Bough Breaks, published in 1985. The rest, as they say, is history.”
By Bill Bryson
“Any travel book by Bill Bryson: I rarely read fiction when I’m writing fiction; too distracting. Since the themes I work with are dark and disturbing, I tend to gravitate to anything that will make me laugh. Bryson does that unfailingly. Oh, boy, does he. The man is incapable of writing an unfunny sentence. If I need to narrow down his prodigious list, let’s pick In A Sunburned Country. Having been to Australia, I found Bryson’s perverse ability to ferret out the scariest, most embarrassing aspects of gorgeous, relaxing locales nothing short of rib-splitting.”