What’s a chicken soup book? That’s a book you reach for when you need a hug, or a laugh, or something to make you feel better. It’s the book you’ve read over and over and over and could read it again tomorrow and be happy for doing so. It’s a book that when you see it on the shelf or someone mentions it, your fingers itch to pick it up, open it, and start reading.
I have one of those books. JD Robb’s NAKED IN DEATH. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve read this book. I have my original paperback in the shelf on the wall next to my desk (and just slightly behind my desk chair since I’m in a corner). It’s a 1995 version. I also have the book in hardback (it wasn’t originally published in HB but has been reprinted) and in digital. I read it in digital format now to preserve the books. But that paperback sits on the shelf, face up, where I glance it whenever I go for my phone, which lays next to the book.
The IN DEATH books aren’t for everyone. Those of us who love them do so with a rabidity that can be frightening. The discussions of who should play Eve and Roarke if a movie/TV series is ever made makes the flame wars over Twilight and 50 Shades look like a water balloon fight. La Nora’s fans are more polite but just as vociferous in their opinions.
Last week, after not reading for several weeks, I was down in the dumps and NID migrated from the bookshelf to my desk. I don’t know how. No, seriously. I don’t remember picking it up and moving it. But it sat there, with it’s shiny copper cover calling me with a siren’s song. Despite having literally hundreds of unread books on my TBR shelves and Kindle, I gave up. I grabbed the book and started reading, transferring eventually to the digital version.
I remembered, as I read, why I wanted to be a writer. The language, the sparse descriptions that are so rich they melt in your mouth like dark chocolate, the characterizations, the subtle layering of backstory… *deep sigh* Reading this book taught me how to write. I just thought I knew how before picking it up. And I came to the series late–2003. That’s when I discovered it–about 20 books in. I started with a library copy but was so hooked, I started buying them used so I could read them in order. Then, with SURVIVOR IN DEATH (which is like #23 if you include the anthologies), I started buying hardback copies. Someday, I hope to have them all in hardback. But I digress.
When I finished NID, I read the next two in the series because I have another favorite scene and I couldn’t remember if it was in book 2 or 3. It’s in 3. And despite wanting to reread the entire series, I managed to stop after three and start on other books, including the most current, THANKLESS IN DEATH. To look back over the course of the series, to see the growth and change of Eve and Roarke… It boggles me.
I want to write like that. I want to create characters so beloved by readers. Some day. I have hopes for Sade and Sinjen, despite their slow start.
So anyway, I want to know. What’s your chicken soup book? Or books? Which book do you grab when you need that comfort read, the words and story familiar and safe? Oh, and happy Hump Day! 😀