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.
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.
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.
Paranoia (Joseph Finder)
Love love love Finder, and this is my favorite.
DaVinci Code (Dan Brown)
Needs no explanation.
Once We Were Brothers (Ronald Balson)
I love a WWII backdrop. This is so well done. I was sad when it was over.
Harry Potter (all) (J.K. Rowling)
Duh. No brainer.
Night (Ellie Wiesel)
Another WWII book. Priceless.
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.
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.
- 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….
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.