My To Be Read (TBR) pile is big.  And since I read for enjoyment, I have a 20-Page Rule.

My 20-Page Rule =

  • If I’m not totally hooked on a book by page 20, it’s gets tossed.
  • If, and only if, the book is all over the media that I feel left out that I haven’t read it, I might give it an extra 20 or so pages. But, definitely, if I’m not all-in by page 40, I don’t ever get to page 41.

I recently started a book that was on every “Best of 2017” list, an award-winner and a NYT Best Seller.  I dove in eagerly for several evenings only to be left bored.  Bummer, but this happens to me a lot.  There have been many many award winning titles that failed My 20-Page Rule.  Often, I look at Page Turner lists and shake my head, because there are so many that I never made it to page 21.

Now, in their defense, sometimes, “It’s not you, it’s me” applies.  That is, I may be tired, or too mentally pre-occupied to concentrate on the book.  Maybe it’s always me, I’m super picky.  I like a book that’s easy to read so I can relax and not think too hard and moves fast.

Because of this pickiness, it’s rare that I experience the bliss of a stay-up-all-night-page-turner.  For me to stay awake past 10pm says something, because I’m among the sleepiest people on the planet.  That’s why it’s such an honor for a book to make it on to my highly esteemed list of Books that Kept Callaghan Up.  I never actually maintained a list, so I’m working by memory.  I’m sure I’m missing some, but here’s what I got:

Disclosure (Michael Crichton) 

This is the first book I ever read in a day.  Truth be told, I like pretty much all Crichton.

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The Firm (John Grisham) 

Years later, Mitch McDeere still makes a cameo in a dream.  Also, I never met a Grisham that I didn’t love – oh, except that baseball one.

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The Poet (Michael Connelly)

The Poet holds a special place in my heart because, as many have heard me say before, it really changed my writing life.  It inspired me to study, devour and write thrillers.  Confession:  When a Connelly book comes out, my life is literally put on hold until I’ve finished it.

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Paranoia (Joseph Finder)

Love love love Finder, and this is my favorite.

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DaVinci Code (Dan Brown)

Needs no explanation.

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Once We Were Brothers (Ronald Balson) 

I love a WWII backdrop.  This is so well done.  I was sad when it was over.

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Harry Potter (all) (J.K. Rowling)

Duh.  No brainer.

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Night (Ellie Wiesel)

Another WWII book.  Priceless.

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The Hating Game (Sally Thorne)

This is out of my norm, more of a romantic suspense.  Loved it and can’t wait for Thorne’s next.

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Toxin (Robin Cook)  

It’s been years since I read this and I can still vividly picture the hamburger scene in my head.  A must-read, for sure.

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  • James Paterson, especially Guilty Wives and Black Book
  • The Help (Tate Taylor)
  • All of Janet Evanovitch’s Stephanie Plumb books
  • Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta books
  • Bridges of Madison County (Robert James Waller)
  • I know I’m missing so many more, and it’s plaguing me with guilt….

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The real point of this post is to welcome the newest arrival to this category:

Behind Closed Doors (B.A. Paris)

I ordered this book at the recommendation of my sister, which was risky because we rarely like the same stuff.  Behind Closed Doors is spooky and creepy and page-turnery… Loved it!

Thank you, B.A. Paris for writing this and CONGRATULATIONS on making it onto one of the toughest lists of all time!  This is quite an accomplishment.  I also just finished Paris’ second book, The Breakdown and it was excellent as well.

I may add more reads to this list as I remember them, but there you have it, some of my favorites of all time.


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