It is a question that draws some interesting comments.

Reading is one of my passions. I try to vary the books I read. Fiction novels have always been a first choice. They offer a little escape and allow my imagination to see the story's characters and the plot take shape in my mind.

As a change of pace, I do seek out titles on the non-fiction side of the best seller lists.

I can think of a lot of really good books which I actually didn't want to see the last page come. The stories came alive and the characters were new friends.

Others, not so much. I try to finish what I begin, but at times it's almost too much to weave in and out of the pages until the last one finally appears.

A few books I have recently read come to mind, in both ways, great writing and a good story which finished almost too quickly. Others needed a person with a club standing over me and threatening me if I simply shut it up and go on to the next hope.

I have several authors I enjoy. And my list is eclectic in many ways. Mysteries, action adventures, spy stories, westerns, urban plots or country tales, I can find a lot of them worthy of my leisure time.

And while I do have my favorites who offer new books once or twice a year, I have, from time to time, selected one of the new names from the best seller's list.

The most recent read was The Gold Finch, by Donna Tartt. Most of the critics' blurbs about this lengthy book are glowing. For me, not so much.

The writing is excellent. The story with its many characters is pretty dark. It became one of those books, for me, that I struggled through and put down too much until I finally made it through.

I can say that, until I reached the last couple of chapters where the author becomes more than a little philosophical. In those final pages some really good prose wraps up an otherwise depressing tale.

Another fiction piece that I enjoyed was John Grisham's Sycamore Row. A few years back Grisham wrote books I enjoyed. The Firm, A Time to Kill, and others from the prolific

author turned into good reads. He turns out a lot of books but some of those after the two above just became too liberal in their philosophy for me. But after a few years of ignoring his work, I bought Sycamore Row and enjoyed it. The story really is a sequel in some ways to his A Time to Kill, which I believe to be his best work.

Sycamore Row is worth the time with an interesting plot and likable characters.

The Son by Phillip Meyer caught my eye. The blurb which sold me on buying and reading it compared it to one of my all time favorites, Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry. Well, it proved to by an incorrect comparison. Again, it has a pretty dark story as the progression of generations in the work sees some less than heroic individuals.

Non-fiction works can be a drag and too many end up in the "beat me with a club to finish
category."

One of those books was Gettysburg: The Last Invasion by Allen Guelzo. It read like an official report filed by a military analyst. The minutiae becomes twisted and the names of the soldiers meld with the battlefields in such a way it just takes too much concentration to make sense of the facts.

But, another work of non-fiction which concerns battlefields and true life heros came across with the excitement of a novel while giving
a decent account of historical happenings. It is Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly by Scott Anderson. Note the word in the title that makes this a different experience from the famous movie, it is Lawrence in Arabia, not Lawrence of Arabia.

I have seen the movie a few times and have been aware of many of the stories from that film. This book takes the cinematic hero and turns him into a real fellow who lived the adventure, only perhaps not in the same order, or not as dramatic as the movie made them appear.

Drama enough, however, and the writer moves the story along with the pace of a novel. It is also informative and gaining some understanding
of the waste of warfare has the reader wondering how so many "brilliant" strategists could be so dense as thousands died needlessly.

Some other books worth the time, in my opinion, are: White Fire by Preston and Child; Storm Front by John Sanford; Inferno by Dan Brown; Shock Wave by John Sanford; The Apostle: The Life of Paul by John Pollock.

So, what are you reading?

If you have enjoyed a good book of late, pass the title and your recommendation along.

I can't wait to read the next title I can add to my all time best list.