Authors worth binge reading.

Authors worth binge reading.

Every once in a while I’ll stumble upon a new-to-me author and feel immediately compelled to read everything they’ve ever written—preferably before the week is over.

Last fall I was burning through Wallace Stegner novels. I re-read Crossing to Safety for the third time in two years, then read Angle of Repose for the second time, then The Spectator Bird for the first. (And then I couldn’t figure out which of his novels to read next and got distracted—but I did just pick up The Big Rock Candy Mountain from the library).

At the end of the year I blew through Kristin Harmel’s works. A publisher sent me The Life Intended, then she freaked when I said I’d never read The Sweetness of Forgetting because it was her favorite, and I liked those two so much I found Italian for Beginners.

I do the same thing whenever I revisit Jane Austen’s works. I sit down thinking I’m really in the mood to re-read Emma, and before I know it I’ve read three of her six novels, at which point I might as well go ahead and finish them all.

I’m always delighted to find an author worth binge reading. For me, sometimes this looks like great literature (Stegner, Austen).

More often, it’s an author whose books are fun, entertaining, and compulsively readable, like the following:

Series: To binge read Louise Penny
Still Life (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache Mysteries, No. 1)

Still Life (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache Mysteries, No. 1)

This is the first installment of Penny's Chief Inspector Gamache series, which will hit 11 books when her newest release comes out August 25. These mysteries are unlike anything I'd ever read: the whodunit plot lines are just an excuse to explore human nature, granting them a depth and psychological astuteness I never expected from this genre. (Note: if I thought Three Pines was a real place, I'd move there in a heartbeat.) You don't have to read these novels in order, but I recommend it: you'll miss the richness of her plot lines and characters if you jump in midstream. More info →
Bury Your Dead  (A Chief Inspector Armand Gamache Mystery)

Bury Your Dead (A Chief Inspector Armand Gamache Mystery)

There was never a question I'd continue with the Inspector Gamache series (although I will say that book 3 wasn't my favorite) but the series moves to the next level in this sixth installment, in which Penny finally brings a plotline she's only hinted at in previous books front and center, and it is riveting. More info →
A Trick of the Light (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache Mysteries, No. 7)

A Trick of the Light (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache Mysteries, No. 7)

Penny's mysteries are alternately centered in the cozy village of Three Pines and the wider world. For this excellent follow-up to the game-changing Bury Your Dead, Inspector Gamache returns to Three Pines to solve a murder that's intimately tied to the world of fine art. The story is built around the concept of chiaroscuro—the contrast between dark and light that's significant in some artists' works, and in all our natures. It may sound obtuse, but Penny probes with a light hand. It works. More info →
Series: To binge read Marisa de los Santos
Love Walked In

Love Walked In

De los Santos novels have all the characteristics of good binge reads: good storytelling, likable characters, and beautiful writing. (They're not terribly challenging, which makes them that much easier to speed through.) This is a great place to start with her work. More info →
Belong to Me

Belong to Me

This is the standalone sequel to Love Walked In, but go ahead and read them in order. (Belong to Me has higher ratings on Goodreads, but I enjoyed Love Walked In more. Though comfortably predictable and a little too feel-good for some people's taste, it's well-written, intelligent, and thoroughly readable. This would make a great beach read. More info →
Falling Together

Falling Together

This isn't as strong as de los Santos' previous works but I still thoroughly enjoyed it. A lovely depiction of an unusual friendship across many years, and a thoughtful exploration of the complexities of love, grief, and human nature. I wish this novel's finale didn't veer into over-the-top territory, but I still love its vivid portrayal of friendship in the college years and beyond. More info →
Series: To binge read Liane Moriarty
What Alice Forgot

What Alice Forgot

Moriarty's works are compulsively readable: whenever I get my hands on a new one I inhale it in two days. This is the novel that made me love her: I spreed through it like it was the fluffiest chick lit, but found myself mulling over its themes for weeks after I finished. (I wrote a little about that here.) More info →
The Husband’s Secret

The Husband’s Secret

This story about three Australian women whose lives intersect in unexpected ways is packed full of secrets. Moriarty addressed dark topics here, but her tone remains light and witty, and she manages to weave in interesting notes—the Berlin wall, the myth of Pandora, the Snow White fairy tale. I loved this on audio: the Australian accent was delightful. More info →
Big Little Lies

Big Little Lies

Moriarty's latest novel focuses on three Aussie moms who have children in the same kindergarten class. We know from the prologue that the book culminates with a murder at the school’s trivia night fundraiser; what we don’t know is who, or how. A satirical take on the strange relationships of kindly moms, told in an unusual format (reminiscent of Elin Hilderbrand in parts). Darkly comic: pay close attention to how adroitly Moriarty addresses domestic violence. More info →
Series: To binge read Kate Morton
The Distant Hours

The Distant Hours

This Gothic mystery is slow to build but those who persevere will be rewarded. The plot flips back and forth between World War II and the 1990s, but not in the way you'd expect. The setting is a crumbling old castle, which contributes to the story's creepy (but not quite scary) feel. Some readers think this is Morton's best work. More info →
The Forgotten Garden

The Forgotten Garden

If the Brothers Grimm wrote The Secret Garden, this is what it would have been like. This sprawling family saga gets a little unwieldy at times, but I can't say I minded much. History, fairy tale, family drama, and Gothic mystery rolled into one. More info →
The Secret Keeper

The Secret Keeper

This is my favorite Morton novel. A daughter is determined to unravel a longstanding secret before her mother dies. As the daughter follows the clues, the story flips back and forth in time between today and the years before and during World War II, including the London Blitz, which Morton recreates so vividly you can almost hear the bombs dropping. Filled with twists and turns that will keep you guessing to the end. More info →
Series: To binge read Sarah Addison Allen
Garden Spells

Garden Spells

Sarah Addison Allen's novels share common elements: they're Southern, small-town, and uniquely magical. This is the book that hooked me on her writing. The romance is cheesy, the magic impossible, but put them together and it sings. A few love scenes are a little racy (ahem). If you’re not down with supernatural food or a magical apple tree, skip this one—but you should know how many readers call this “a wonderful surprise.” A must-read for fans of The Language of Flowers. More info →
The Sugar Queen

The Sugar Queen

Sparkly Southern women, screwed-up family relationships, and magical realism mark this novel. One woman's unique magic is that the specific book she needs in her life right then mysteriously appears—on her bedside table, on her desk at work, in her handbag. That's enough to win me over. More info →
First Frost

First Frost

Allen wrote Garden Spells in 2007, and eight whole years later—in January 2015—she published this sequel because readers kept asking her what happened next? and she was eager to revisit the Waverly sisters. Not quite as enchanting as Garden Spells, but still worth reading. More info →

Who are YOUR authors worth binge reading?

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195 comments

  1. Jeanne says:

    I love Louise Penny. I’m not usually a mystery reader (too scary) but I loved the characters so much. I’ve also binged on Liane Moriarty.
    Juliette Fay is also great. I’ve read Shelter Me so many times and I still weep and laugh.
    Liza Palmer and Jojo Motes have been two recent binges.

  2. Robin says:

    I’ve read some of all of these authors (several from your recommendations) and love them all! I just started Louise Penny’s series because Still Life was in the Summer Reading Guide. But my library only had Beautiful Mystery on the shelf, so I read that first. I loved it! I like mysteries, but this has so much more than the who-dun-it plot. Thank you for letting me know about such wonderful books!

  3. Sara K. says:

    Kate Morton is a favorite of mine! I have read all of her books except The Secret Keeper. I borrowed that one from the library once but just couldn’t devote enough time to it! It is definitely on my reading list 🙂

    I loved Sarah Addison Allen’s Garden Spells when I read it years ago. I keep meaning to go back and read her other books too.

    The other three authors are on my list to read, but I haven’t had the chance to indulge yet! This is most definitely a good list of authors to binge read 🙂

  4. Alison says:

    Am I the only one who read “The Husband’s Secret” and didn’t really like it? The secret wasn’t really much of one, and I remember being let down that there wasn’t more to it in the end. It’s been a while, so maybe I need to re-read. I’m also a binge reader, but mostly do it with political thrillers (Flynn,Thor, Berry, etc.). I’ll definitely put these on my list!

    • Girl in Boston says:

      I didn’t like the Husband’s Secret either, although I loved What Alice Forgot. Sometimes when I really enjoy a book and I get disappointed by the author’s other works. Maybe my expectations are too high. Loved Geraldine Brooks People of the Book, discarded The Year of Wonders early on. Loved Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian but was unimpressed with The Swan Thieves.

    • Veronica says:

      I read Big Little Lies first and loved it. I didn’t care too much for The Husband’s Secret either, but thoroughly enjoyed What Alice Forgot.
      Louise Penny is one of my favorites, and I often wish I could be in Three Pines, sipping hot cocoa at the cafe!

    • Lindsey says:

      Oh, I thought it was so good…but I could have done without the epilogue.

      One think about her books is that she does not leave ANY loose ends. (At least from those I’ve read–just What Alice Forgot and The Husband’s Secret.) I appreciated it in What Alice Forgot but thought it made The Husband’s Secret seem a little more contrived. (But still, I couldn’t put it down.)

    • Kristy Hidalgo says:

      I love Lianne Moriarty but I agree that The Husband’s Secret was disappointing. I loved Big Little Lies!

    • Susan E says:

      I chime in with the others who loved Big Little Lies (my first Moriarty book which started me on a binge) and What Alice Forgot but didn’t think The Husband’s Secret was as good as the others.

      I love Louise Penny and the ambiance she creates in Three Pines and the multi-dimensional characters in her books. Looking forward to her latest which comes out soon.

      I haven’t read the other writers but am also looking for binge reads. Thanks, Anne.

    • Colleen H says:

      I just finished binge reading 3 of Lisa Moriarty’s books. I loved Big Little Lies, I thought The Husband’s Secret was very good and What Alice Forgot was good. What I liked about The Husband’s Secret was that the secret came out early on. The middle of the book was just so so. I loved the end of the book(epilogue) and I’m still thinking about it. It ranks right up there with my favorite all time ending, Gone Girl. Please don’t rake me over the coals for saying that!

  5. Blaire says:

    Seeing you mention Crossing to Safety made me so happy this morning. I adore that book, and now of course want to reread it. I had, shockingly, never heard of Stegner until about two years ago, and now Crossing to Safety would make my top 10 book list. Thank you for these recommendations. I’ve been working my way through your summer reading list and have really enjoyed them.

  6. Melanie says:

    I read The Secret Keeper at your recommendation last year and couldn’t wait to read the rest of her novels. So far, none have disappointed. I am starting The Forgotten Garden now!
    Just finished What Alice Forgot last night. I have devoured all of her works.
    I’ll be adding these recommendations to my list now and can’t wait to dive in!

      • I just started The Lake House for my Book Club’s January pick. I will check out Walkace Stegner. I have read through all of Kristen Hannah and The Nightingale is a stellar read! 1,000,000 sold in 8 months and a to-be movie. Karen White, The Tradd Street novels, #5 will be out next Summer. Based on an actual street in Charleston, SC and about ghost mysteries. Keeps the pages turning!! Mary Aluce Montoe is another binge author I love. environmental issues about the animal kingdom are covered in a wonderful family life environment. The Beach House and The Butterfly Garden are two favorites. In Christian fiction I love Liz Curtis Higgs Scotland novels. Happy reading all! Fall is the best time to curl around a great book!

    • Shay says:

      Deborah Harkness All Souls Trilogy., Diannah Gabaldon, Outlander series, Jojo Moyes, including Me Before You, and Me After You. I love Liane Moriarty and Sarah Addison Allan.

  7. Emmy says:

    Okay, so I JUST finished Still Life yesterday–a book I read on your recommendation. I’m an avid reader of mysteries (they are my preferred beach reads!) and I have to say, I’m not sure about this one! I feel like I both loved and hated it. I agree with you that the author’s exploration of human nature is astute and compelling. The discussion about change, loss, and “still lives” (between Myrna and Gamache) stopped me in my tracks and I literally couldn’t do anything else for the evening but sit and think about the truth of their words. I also loved the author’s “long house” metaphor. So I loved those bits, I loved the setting, I loved that art was pretty central to the plot (because that interests me in general), and I loved that I was wrong about the killer until the very end (I can often see the answer coming a mile away). What I hated is that I couldn’t keep the characters straight until I was about 1/3 of the way through the book! (Not to sound like a jerk, but this is never a problem for me; I love huge, difficult, complex novels. I think this is a problem with the book; it took me a long time to truly care and get pulled in.) The other thing I hated was Agent Nichol! There’s nothing wrong with a book having an unlikeable character–I have no problem with those!–but Nichol’s cluelessness was over-the-top. A person THAT dense just felt like a caricature to me and it caused me to doubt the author. Same with Yolande–what she did to Jane’s house didn’t feel believable. (Possible spoiler alert: I think the author went with wallpaper because she needed something removable, but I don’t believe for a second Yolande would actually go through the trouble of wallpapering; let’s be honest…she just would have primed and painted everywhere. But the author couldn’t allow that because it would obviously have killed her plot.)

    So, I’m on the fence. I’m definitely willing to try one more Gamache novel because I want to read more of what Penny has to teach me about human nature, but if I encounter Agent Nichol again, I’m throwing the book at the wall!

    With that, I’d like to thank you for all the recs! I’m pretty new to your blog, but you’ve quickly become my go-to source for book recommendations. 🙂

    • Danae says:

      I recently read Still Life and agree with your response. I felt like most of the supporting characters were two-dimensional and frequently stereotypical. That being said, the depth of the more developed characters (Gamache, Clara) was really well done. I also appreciated the plot’s originality. Perhaps the great parts of this book made the flat characters stand out more harshly. I read book #2 in the series and liked it better, and am hoping Penny develops as the series progresses and hits her stride in future books.

    • KT says:

      I hated Agent Nichols too, and almost quit the series for that reason. She is not through, but by the third or fourth book her storyline is complete (at least I think – I am on book 8 and we haven’t seen her almost at all since then). The characters become easier to follow as the novels progress. You meet new people in every book, but the general cast from Three Pines stays the same. Bury Your Dead (book 5?) really knocked it out of the park for me.

    • Anne says:

      I hear you on Still Life. It’s a debut novel, and suffers from the typical rookie flaws: immature voice, undeveloped or type characters, confusing plot lines. Nevertheless, I thought it was good. Not amazing, but solid. I’m not sure I would have read on in the series (11 books is a BIG commitment!) had several friends with great taste not raved about the later books. I’m very glad I stuck it out. It’s incredible how much Penny has matured as a writer since book 1.

    • Emmy says:

      Thanks Danae, KT, and Anne, for your replies! I really appreciate your thoughts and info. I think you’ve all convinced me to continue on with the series–I have super high hopes now for Bury Your Dead. 🙂

    • B J Apsley says:

      I recently finished reading Still Life and felt the same way. I really liked Gamache, but many of the other characters were not memorable at all and the plot line was a little slow. However, I didn’t guess who the real killer was until the end and that’s a biggie. Often I will guess the killer’s identify before I’m halfway through the book. I also thought that maybe since it was the first in the series, there’s a lot of time spent setting up your people and sense of place. So, I’m going to give the series a chance and go on to read the second one. There are just too many bloggers on the internet who seem to love this series. Thanks for the recommendation.

      • Laura says:

        I understand what you guys are saying about Still Life, but believe me this series gets better every book! I check Penny’s website regularly for release dates on new installments, I read each book greedily, and mourn a little when they’re done. I have never had an author keep me so obsessed with a series. I do strongly suggest reading these books in order. The story takes us on many journeys with each character and I think to capture the real magic of the series is to know the whole story! Love everyone’s input here, looking forward to exploring the suggestions!

  8. Krista Foley says:

    Kate Morton is one of my favorites, as well as Susanna Kearsley.
    I have been enjoying reading the Outlander book series as well.
    Thanks for the info on more books to read! I have so many on my goodreads to-read list. 🙂

      • Raela says:

        I hope you get the chance, they’re so wonderful! The only advice I’d give on what order to read them is that Firebird (one of her more recent releases) is fantastic but is best appreciated if you’ve read Winter Sea (my favorite…I think) and Shadowy Horses.

        • Anne says:

          Wait wait! I HAVE read The Winter Sea, and not that long ago, either. Not feeling too brilliant right now, but appreciative of the Firebird recommendation. 🙂

    • Raela says:

      I practically inhale Kearsley books the second they release! Sadly, I’m caught up on her backlist so I have to wait for new releases now. She is SO excellent and I wish I could read each of her books over for the first time again.

  9. Heather says:

    I wouldn’t say these are necessarily “light” reads, but I’ve been binging on Barbara Kingsolver this year: The Bean Trees, Animal Dreams, Homeland, and now Small Wonder. Recently read The Poisonwood Bible as well. I love her writing–it has sucked me in!

    • Janell says:

      I was going to say Barbara Kingsolver. I’ll read anything by her! My favorites are Prodigal Summer and Poisonwood Bible. Another not-light-but-must-read author is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi.

    • B J Apsley says:

      Am I the only one who doesn’t really like Sarah Addison Allen’s books? I started
      The Girl Who Chased the Moon and didn’t finish it and although I finished Lost Lake, I really didn’t love it. Everywhere I go, everyone talks about how much they love her books. Maybe I’ll have to go back and give her another try!

  10. Breanne says:

    I found myself nodding to almost all the authors here, hoping you would mention my favourites. =) I haven’t read anything by Leanne Penny but I’m adding her to my TBR list. I’ve also binge read Elin Hilderbrand this summer simply because her books are great beach reads but I don’t think she’s a repeat author, at least for me.
    I always recommend Liane Moriaty and Kate Morton as good gateway authors for friends wanting to read more.

  11. Cara says:

    Ooh, a couple of new-to-me authors, and you’ve included a couple of my favorites as well (especially Kate Morton.)

    Another author I recently discovered-and probably wouldn’t have without a strong recommendation from a friend-is Elizabeth Joy Arnold. Start with The Book of Secrets, amazing, and in a way it’s a book about books…I binge-read that particular book in 2 days, and immediately bought the rest. They’re intense, lots of twists and the writing is delicious.

  12. Janet says:

    i love Kate Morton, have read all of her books and have pre-ordered her new one. I really like Liane Moriarty, but not The Husband’s Secret. I binge read Elly Griffith’s Ruth Galloway books and every time she writes a new one I go back and reread them all. I fly right through Deborah Crombie’s mysteries and have reread most of them. I’m the same way with Elizabeth George’s mysteries.

  13. SoCalLynn says:

    Louise Penny has popped up before me so many times recently that I will give her books a try now. I don’t usually like mysteries, but I recently discovered the Maisie Dobbs series and love them. I have had What Alice Forgot on my shelf for over a year, and I just purchased Crossing to Safety. Good reading ahead, for certain!

  14. Marie says:

    He’s not to everyone’s taste, but I’ve read everything by Ian McEwan and eagerly await what’s coming out next. His virtuosity is really in his words and observations, which is why I find it funny that his books are often made into movies–their heart is as much in the writing as in the plot, in my opinion.

  15. Dana says:

    Love Kate Morton, Forgotten Garden is my favorite of hers. Excited that she has another book coming out. Also love Sarah Addison Allen. Whenever she has a new book out I rush out and buy it and read it straight through. My favorite of hers is The Sugar Queen. Also Marisa de Los Santos, especially Love Walked In. I read the first Louise Penny and while it was OK , I did not feel compelled to read any others.

    Others I love are Jeanne Ray: Step, Ball, Change and Eat Cake are laugh out, read out loud loud funny. She has several others that I have enjoyed as well.

    Also Agatha Christie and PD James. James’ books are more like literary novels that happen to have a mystery rather than just a mystery novel. Her characters are well developed and the stories are complex studies of human interactions. They can be a bit dark but so well done. Don’t judge her by Death at Pemberley ( or whatever that was). The Adam Dalgleish series is fabulous.

    I have not read any Wallace Stegner, but you have mentioned him a lot so he is going on the list. I also confess to only having read Pride and Prejudice by Austen, although I do have Emma and Sense and Sensibility on my shelves waiting. Have not read Liane Moriarity either.

  16. Tim says:

    My binge recommendation is Josephine Tey. Her Alan Grant mysteries are intricate and cerebral without being obscure and inaccessible, and in the series she explores greed and family and morality and history. In fact, perhaps I’ll go through the set once again now that I think of it.

  17. Byrd says:

    I love binge-reading Rhys Bowen, especially her Royal Spyness series of cozy mysteries. (#9 was just released). It’s the most consistently good series I’ve ever read – I just do not get tired of them. Also, the romantic subplot in the series stays very clean, if that’s a priority for you. In my case, it’s usually not, but I am finding it another way that the series is different and refreshing.

  18. Laurie Fite says:

    I have thoroughly enjoyed Estelle Ryan’s Genevieve Leonard series. There are six of them now but the first, The Gaugin Connection, is free on Kindle. A great collection of characters and good who-done-it’s!

  19. Beth Anne says:

    I am currently binge reading Hampton Sides. The hardest part is that his book (non-fiction history) are all 400+ pages and packed with tons of information. I started with In the Kingdom of Ice (about an 1880s expedition to the North Pole), then Hellhound on His Trail (about MLK and his killer), and now on to Blood and Thunder (about Kit Carson and the American West). He’s a fabulous writer and the books read like novels.

  20. LoriM says:

    You’re killing me here! But in a good way. 🙂 I just got thru a Liane Moriarty binge – finished with The Last Anniversary which I was not that fond of but loved the others and it intrigued me, too, just had a disappointing ending, I thought. Now I am setting Holds and Recommends at Download Destination (my new best friend) for these – and documenting them all in GoodReads.

  21. Stacey says:

    Fun list! Agree completely with Lianne Moriarity and Kate Morton. And Louise Penny will go on my TBR list right now. You have mentioned her before and I keep meaning to check her out! And I would add JoJo Moyes to the binge worthy list. After reading Me Before You a few years ago, I couldn’t get enough of her!

  22. Ruth Rendell!!! Not all of her books are fabulous, but most of them are. She has written many under her own name and many as Barbara Vine (which may be indexed under either name). I just recently read one of her books for the first time and was disappointed with it (The Child’s Child) so I immediately turned to another Rendell that I’d read once but couldn’t recall well (Shake Hands Forever) and I’m now comfortably getting my Rendell fix!

    Ruth Rendell/Barbara Vine titles I particularly recommend:
    A Dark-Adapted Eye
    Wolf to the Slaughter
    The Brimstone Wedding
    Anna’s Book
    Gallowglass
    A Fatal Inversion

  23. Adrienne says:

    I love so many of the authors mentioned here: Kate Morton, Liane Moriarty, Louise Penny, Elizabeth George, Susanna Kearsley, Jodi Picoult…. I’ll throw out one I haven’t seen mentioned yet; Ivan Doig. I love his series set in Montana, which includes Dancing and the Rascal Fair, English Creek, and Ride with Me Mariah Montana. They’re fabulous, and carry the story of families over many many years and generations.

  24. Faith R says:

    Oooh I loved this post!! I’ve read many of these already and enjoyed them a lot. I have to say I felt the opposite about Garden Spells vs First Frost – partly because I read First Frost first – I loved the characters SO much but really hated Garden Spells. Another by the same author not mentioned – “Lost Lake” I really enjoyed that one, despite the weird magical alligator.

    I REALLY liked Husbands Secret but didn’t bother finishing Big Little Lies, I just really didn’t like it at all. I loved What Alice Forgot – though I found it odd that both Husband Secret and What Alice Forgot were from the alternating perspectives of three women. In What Alice Forgot I started skimming through the chapter from the third woman because she felt so superfluous.

    Distant Hours was my favorite Kate Morton – I might have to try reading some of the others again I haven’t finished any of the others yet.

  25. Jeannie says:

    I’m on holidays and am reading The Secret Keeper right now!! I love how Morton plants so many seeds of suspense at the beginning — once you’ve read 5 pages it’s impossible not to continue.

    I first read ANOTHER Moriarty, Laura Moriarty, a few years ago — I discovered her novel The Center of Everything and loved it, and quickly rushed to read everything else she’d written. She’s excellent. The Chaperone is her most recent (2012); I particularly enjoyed that one.

    • Anne says:

      I’ve read The Chaperone and have wondered about her others. Thanks for the recommendation. I’m eyeing The Center of Everything based on the reviews … and the great cover. 🙂

  26. Gina says:

    This is great – so many to add to the list. I was going to say Sarah Addison Allen before I kept reading and saw that you already have her. I’ve got one of her books left and they are so enjoyable! Thanks for the recommendations. I’m going to try Louise Penny next. I loved the Jeffrey Archer Clifton Chronicles series – maybe not excellent writing per say but great summer page turners.

  27. Raela says:

    Agree with lots of the comments here!

    For me, it’s Georgette Heyer. I have to be careful about re-reading any of her books because it’s sure to send me off on a huge re-reading binge. There are quite a few I love, but I’d start with Sylvester, Grand Sophy, Bath Tangle, Cotillion, Frederica, Arabella, Lady of Quality, Regency Buck, or Venetia.

  28. Melanie says:

    I definitely want to read the Louise Penny books after seeing them pop up on so many of your posts, but I just don’t want to get tangled up in a long series right now. (And no, I don’t trust myself to just read one every now and again.) Oh the dilemma!

    I love the Flavia de Luce books, especially on audio. The Maisie Dobbs series is fun too, though I feel like Maisie becomes a bit too much of a sad sack and it’s getting old.

    If you love Stegner you need to read All the Little Live Things. I finished it last night and loved it.

  29. donna says:

    This is such an amazing post! Thanks to you, I’ve added Louise Penny to my must-read list. I plan on picking up Still Life in the fall.😊

    I’m binge reading Anthony Doerr right now. Read All the Light You Cannot See earlier this year and then moved onto his memoir, Four Seasons in Rome back in April. I plan on diving into his
    short story collection, The
    Shell Collector soon.
    Other authors I plan on binge
    reading:
    Jojo Moyes – blazed through
    Me Before You over the
    weekend. Finished it in less
    than 24 hours.
    Liane Moriarty – halfway
    through The Husband’s
    Secret right now
    Elin Hilderbrand – read The
    Rumor on your recommendation and
    absolutely loved it. Just
    picked up The Matchmaker
    yesterday.
    Chris Pavone – just finished
    his debut The Expats and it’s
    up there up my list of books I
    highly, highly recommend. A
    guaranteed great read! Can’t
    wait to pick up The Accident.
    William Landay – I loved
    Defending Jacob which I read
    during the winter. And
    Mission Flats is up next.
    Laura Lippman – I started
    reading her latest mystery,
    Hush Hush and it’s sucked
    me right in.
    Cathleen Schine – I’m
    halfway through The New
    Yorkers (which is her seventh
    novel) and I highly
    recommend it, especially if
    you’re a dog lover.
    Laura Dave – Really enjoyed her new one, Eight Hundred Grapes
    As always, thanks for the recommendations. I can’t wait to check out de los Santos!

  30. Dee says:

    I binged awhile ago and read a few Sweet Valley High novels in a row for nostalgia, but I don’t usually read like that 🙂 I like to mix things up… a classic, followed by a mystery, followed by non fiction, etc.

  31. Chris says:

    i love Sarah Addiison Allen. I love the magic in her writing.thanks for giving us new ideas. My binge reading is Rosamunde Pilcher and Jude Deveraux all of the most!

  32. Sue says:

    Binge reading – what a great post! It so describes what I do.
    My suggestions: Susan Hill. I first read The Woman in Black, and it triggered an interest in books with a “gothic” feel. I only wish she wrote more and they were longer.
    Laurie King. Addictive books starring Sherlock Holmes and his younger academic wife
    Naomi Novik. Who can resist the combination of Historical fiction in the Napoleonic wars with dragons? The books are specially good as audiobooks , and I binge listened to them!

  33. Sassy Apple says:

    For those of you who like murder mysteries, you must try The Phryne Fisher mysteries by Kerry Grrenwood. Set in Australia, post WWI, the descriptions of the fashion, food, etc. are reason enough to read them. Yes, Netflix runs a pale imitation of the books called Miss Fisher Misteries, which I still enjoy, but the books are (say it with me) SO much better!

    • Jane on Whidbey says:

      I’m so excited to hear this. I like the Netflix show, but I always like the books the shows are made from, anyway. I’m glad to have a new series to start picking up. I pick my authors, then start with book one, and progress. It’s so ingrained, I hate it. With Agatha Christie, it never mattered, but with Sue Grafton, Janet Evanovich, and Anne Perry, it’s jarring to read out of order. So I binge read an author until I run out of books. You might like Anne Perry, especially her WWI series with Matthew Reavley. I like the William Monk series. I love the historical detail. What an escape!

  34. Jen says:

    Well, I challenge you not to binge read Rosamund Pilcher (or at least the “big” novels) once you start! So rich, comforting and lovely!

  35. Liesl says:

    I’ve been binge reading Lianne Moriarty based on your recommendations – SO GOOD!

    I am a huge fan of Kate Morton – can’t wait for her new book. The Secret Keeper is also my favorite of her novels. Like you said – it’s like you can hear and feel the bombs dropping. It’s just so well written and the story is very moving.

    I’m going to have to try Louise Penny.

    A number of years ago, I binge read books by John Case (pseudonym) – I would describe his books as scientific thrillers.

  36. Amy O'Quinn says:

    Mine are:
    Susanna Kearsley
    Karen White
    Jan Karon
    Kate Morton
    Charles Todd (Bess Crawford series)
    Jacqueline Winspear (Maisie Dobbs)

    Great post! I love reading all the other suggestions!

      • Raela says:

        For Susanna Kearsley, I definitely recommend starting with Winter Sea, no contest. All her books are great, but that one will hook you for sure.

        For three of her books, I’d recommend this order. All the others can be read in any order.
        1. Winter Sea
        2. Shadowy Horses
        3. Firebird

      • Amy O'Quinn says:

        I agree with Raela on Susanna Kearsley’s books. All of them are wonderful! As for Karen White, I started with her Tradd Street series first and got hooked on her writing. I just happened to see The House on Tradd Street (Book One) on my library’s ‘new’ books shelf and liked the cover. 🙂 Moreover, I love any book set in Charleston, SC. That series will keep you on the edge of your seat and up late at night. But I also really liked A Long Time Gone, The Beach Trees, Sea Change, and On Folly Beach a lot too. You won’t go wrong starting with any of her titles!

        • RobinfromCA says:

          One more Karen White book that I really love is Pieces of the Heart. Wonderful book! I got hooked on her through the Tradd Street series as well.

  37. Nancy says:

    One of the authors that I haven’t seen listed here but is one of my favorites is Dorothea Benton Frank. Her books are mostly set in the vicinity of Charleston, and I love her strong and witty female characters.

  38. Susan says:

    Thanks for posting! Another good mystery series is Laurie R. King’s Mary Russell & Sherlock Holmes series, beginning with The Beekeeper’s Apprentice.

  39. Chantel says:

    What an awesome idea for a list! I’ve been binge reading Kate Morton this summer and have Penny Louise’s Still Life on hold at the library, definitely going to be checking the rest of these out, I’ve only been following your blog for a few weeks but I feel like we have the same taste so I trust your recommendations.
    I did just read my first Agatha Christie book this week (I know, about 100 years late to that party) I’ll definitely be reading more of those soon!

  40. Cindi says:

    i too love Louise Penney and am making my way throught them date ordered. This has been interrupted by Susan Hill series of Simon Serrailler. I love the way Susan crafts her books and how they are more psychologically driven than crime driven/Corey details. Plus, she has a whole village of characters and I love watching their lives u fold.

  41. Courtney says:

    I immediately went tonthe library and picked up Garden Spells. I’ve binge read Kristin Hannah in the past. I love the strong female relationships that are a constant theme in her books!

  42. Anna says:

    I’ve binge read Sarah Addison Allen, Louise Penny, and Lianne Moriarty from your list. Every once in awhile, I get on a Jane Austen kick, too. Other authors that I started, then had to binge read are Alexander McCall Smith, Susanna Kearsley, Alan Bradley, and Charles Todd. I also have a thing for light weight type mysteries when I need some light, fun reading. Things like Joanna Fluke or other series, usually something with a woman who has a small business and solves mysteries.

  43. Another Liane Moriarty fan here. I started reading her books on the recommendation of a dear friend and absolutely fell in love with them. I have to say, of the different Aussie others I’ve read so far (four or five, I think) I’ve loved them all. They’re my ideal blend of good pacing, smart writing and quirky, off-beat characterization. Melina Marcetta is another favourite of mine – possible “the” favourite, for me at least.

    Fun discovery for me: Liane Moriarty and Jaclyn Moriarty are sisters. I’ve been reading Jaclyn Moriarty’s books since I was a teenager and never realized there was someone else in the family who wrote! Talent runs in the family, it seems.

  44. I adore ALL Liane Moriarty’s books – I’ve read 4 now. What Alice Forgot, Three Wishes, The last anniversary and The Husband’s Secret. Loved them all.

    I’ve read 2 of Marisa de los Santos’s books too and loved the one you did, Anne.

    Other authors I have binge-read are another Moriary: Sinead Moriarty – this one is Irish and writes GREAT stories.

  45. Lisa Anne says:

    I binge read through E.F. Benson’s Lucia series every few years. I am also a Heyer fan. If I start one I read them all again. I have binged on Fitzgerald and Faulkner too. This last year I discovered Alan Bradley’s Flava de Luce series and binged through them, I am hoping for more. I noticed someone mentioned Rosamund Pilcher so I’m off …

  46. RobinfromCA says:

    I am new to your blog and I love it! (Many thanks to Pinterest for the link!) Binge reading is a specialty of mine. Love Kate Morton and look forward to the new one coming out in October. She was one of my binge authors. I’ve also binge read:

    Karen White: I especially loved the Tradd Street Series
    Julie Hyzy: White House Chef series (binged on the first four then have had to patiently wait for the others as they’ve been released.)
    Lauren Willig: As you might have guessed I love a cozy mystery and her Pink Carnation series is the right blend of mystery and romance.
    Rachel Hoare: My current binge read new (to me) author.
    Jane Austen: I’ve been reading Jane for 30 years and have read them all many times but I am rereading them all this month.

    Sometimes I binge read a genre. Latest one was autobiographies and biographies. Still have four of them on the TBR shelf waiting for me.

    I’ll definitely be back! I’ve tried to start a book blog myself but have been sadly lacking in time to keep up with it.

  47. keely says:

    This has turned out to be a timely post for me, Anne! I’ve been reading nonstop in bed since Sunday as I lie here suffering with…wait for it…shingles! 🙁
    I loved Garden Spells and had no idea she had written a sequel! I devoured it, and am moving on to her other books. I enjoy the magic and whimsy of her stuff. And the food references! 🙂
    As for other binge-worthy authors, I would add Alan Bradley’s Flavia series and Alexander McCall Smith’s 44 Scotland series.

  48. B J Apsley says:

    My TBR list has gotten much fatter after I have made my way through this post. I will need to live a very very long life to get through it! Thanks for all the thoughtful recommendations.

  49. B J Apsley says:

    Yesterday after I read this post, I went on Amazon and found Defending Jacob, mentioned above, on sale for $2.99, grabbed it up! Also, I’ve been wanting to read something by Jodi Picoult, never read her and everyone raves about her. Found her book Leaving Time for $1.99, grabbed that too.

  50. Alison says:

    Yes, yes and YES to everything you’ve said Anne! I’ve burned through Liane Moriarty, and thanks to you have now discovered Kate Morton – although I have to smile at the irony of finding her on your blog half-way across the world from me, when she was born in the next town over from where I was, in the same year!!!!!! I love finding new-to-me authors, especially with an already-extensive catalogue of titles to settle in with and get to know. I’m absolutely LOVING getting to know the characters of Three Pines, and waver between wanting to devour the series as quickly as possible or take my time (and yes, I would totally want to move there too if it were a real place!!!). Other fave authors/series for me (esp for binge reading) include Bryce Courtenay, Diana Gabaldon, Alexander McCall Smith, Nicole Alexander (Australian author), John Marsden (Aus YA author), Jojo Moyes, Elizabeth Berg, Diane Chamberlain, Jennifer Chiaverini (Elm Creek Quilts series), Monica McInerney (another Aus author).

    • Oh, yes yes yes to Jennifer Chiaverini! I finally caught up on the Elm Creek Quilts series this year and am reading Sonoma Rose now. Definitely one of my favourites of the series, but I’m fond of them all. It’s so rare to find a book about crafting (be it knitting, quilting, sewing …) that has more than a teaspoon’s worth about the craft!

      • Alison says:

        Absolutely Victoria, and having read the series over the past 15 years, I’ve come to love the characters almost like they’re ‘real’ friends!!

    • Anne says:

      Thanks for sharing some new-to-me authors here! I’m glad you’ve found and are enjoying Kate Morton—even if you had to go halfway around the world to find her. 🙂

  51. A says:

    I sort of binge-read Tracy Chevalier by accident. I frequent secondhand bookstores (there’s a big secondhand bookstore chain where I live), and I kept finding her books. I think I’ve read all but two of her books by now.

    Louise Penny kept turning up in the piles too, and I think this post is a sign I should buy those books next time.

  52. jennie says:

    i just rediscovered Cynthia Voight which I read in the sixth grade during a particularly hard year… Homecoming- the story of a 13 year old girl who walks herself and three siblings across the Eastern Seaboard after they are abandoned from their mom puts life in perspective… There is a whole series- The Tillerman Cycle in which the stories cross and intersect but dont exactly go in order…

  53. Mollie Bryan says:

    I am a big Louise Penny fan. But I’ve recently been binge reading books by Susanna Kearsley, which sound to me a lot like those Kate Morton books you’ve pointed out. (And now I’m off to the library!) I really like the books that have the two timelines–if they are done well. Another great read I’ve just finished is Juliet Blackwell’s “The Paris Key,” in which she juggle THREE timelines very well. She writes a mystery series, as well, but this book is a standalone.

  54. Bajen says:

    I adore Rainbow Rowell! I have read all but one of her books and they are ‘unputdownable’ and totally reread-able.

    I will be checking out some of the authors mentioned as well. I totally enjoyed The Husband’s Secret and Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty and would love to try out her other books.

  55. Michelle says:

    This summer, I binge read most of T. Greenwood’s books. Love her style! I also adore Francine Rivers. My fave is Redeeming Love, but I also really liked The Atonement Child.

  56. Diana B says:

    Just finished Me Before you by JoJo Moyes and think her writing is right up my alley. I loved One Plus One and, most recently MBY. She’s one to get caught up with!

  57. Hi Anne, I loved this blog post. I have almost finished ‘The Forgotten Garden’ by Kate Morton from your recommendation and have absolutely loved it. It reminds me of some of my other favourite reads- ‘Possession’ and ‘The Children’s Book’ by A.S. Byatt and ‘The Tea Rose’ trilogy by Jennifer Donnelly. I’m going to work my way through the rest of Kate Morton’s books now- thanks again for the recommendation.

  58. Jo says:

    Thanks for this, what a good topic for a post. I read The Secret Keeper recently and loved it, so will definitely try more Kate Morton when I get the chance. Magical realism is one of my favourite genres so will also try Sarah Addison Allen.
    Other authors I have binged on are Diana Gabaldon (for the story and characters more than the writing) and Barbara Kingsolver (she writes so well and her stories have so much depth).

  59. Jo says:

    Oh and David Mitchell is another one – he is very good at managing multiple timelines and converging different stories. Haruki Murakami was another of my discoveries from 2015 that I may have binged on a little, but I do need to space him out with some others in between. 1Q84 was brilliant.

  60. Jane on Whidbey says:

    It looks like I have some new authors to check out soon. I’m guessing that this is a younger crowd than me, so I’m not seeing some of my favorites:
    For easy, fun, ‘I’m home sick and don’t want to think so hard’: P.G. Wodehouse, James Thurber, Irma Bombeck, Agatha Christie, Alexander McCall Smith, Janet Evanovich, Daniel Pinkwater, Rex Stout, Willard Espy;
    For a romantic, self-indulgent time: Rosamunde Pilcher (The Shell Seekers), Mary Stewart, (My Brother Michael), Daphne du Maurier (Rebecca), Maeve Binchy;
    For a good mystery binge: Anne Perry, historical, Dorothy Sayers, Ngaio Marsh, Margery Allingham, Minette Walters, Ruth Rendell, my all time favorite, at the moment, Martha Grimes.
    Solid good writing: Margaret Atwood, Anne Tyler, Fannie Flagg, Lorrie Moore, E. L. Doctorow.
    So many books, so little time.
    I have a lot of other categories, but these are the favorites, and I thank you all for such great participation and answers.

  61. Jane on Whidbey says:

    Ah, I forgot my favorite binge reread, ever ~ The HitchHiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I’ve reread it more than any other series. And I laugh every time. Douglas Adams, gone too soon.

  62. Lauren says:

    Ever read Joshilyn Jackson? I started with gods in Alabama and have since picked up everything she publishes. Very Southern and real and poignant and always surprising.

    gods in Alabama had me at the first line: “There are gods in Alabama: Jack Daniel’s, high school quarterbacks, trucks, big tits, and also Jesus.”

  63. Sandra says:

    Since I tend to read in series and have many favorite authors, I will try and stick to those authors not mentioned so far or very little.
    Karen White
    Lauren Willig – Pink Carnation Series
    Tasha Alexander – Lady Emily Mysteries
    Deanna Raybourn – Lady Julia Mysteries
    C.S. Harris – Sebastian St. Cyr Mysteries
    Beatriz Williams

  64. Dawn Rice says:

    I have obsessively re-read the Outlander series. At times, I have read them all only to finish the series and start back at the beginning. I love the characters and feel like they are real people. Jaime and Claire’s marriage has made mine better.

  65. Amy says:

    Years ago I stumbled upon The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison and after I finished it, I devoured her others (and still do when a new one comes out). I did the same with the Her Royal Spyness series by Rhys Bowen.

  66. Patty says:

    Love Kate Morton, JoJo Moyes, Ann Perry and many others mentioned. I also have binge read an Irish author, Tana French and enjoy Jo Nesbo mysteries. John Hart is a favorite! Love this blog, Anne.

  67. Bonnie Walker says:

    I am new here. I read as many possible novels on WWII, and suggest 2 by Kristen Hannah, Winter Garden, older and The Nightingale, pub in 2015. It has become my most favorite book of all time and all genres. A movie-to-be. Recently I read Me Before You by JoJo Myers, and will now read as many of her books as I can access and afford. Christian Fiction by Liz Curtis Higgs never fails to amaze me, and any fiction by George MacDonald (died 1905) is worth every penny. Madeline L’Engle is a childhood fiction writer that I love and try to reread every year, A Wrinkle In Time and A Wind in the Door, favorites. Anything by her. Meg Waite Clayton strengthens women cracking glass ceilings. Move her newest Te Race for Paris, so inspiring and real. Intelligent and talented writer. So…now you are introduced to me.
    PS – I also collect anything by Rosamunde Pilcher. Timeless!

  68. Debbie Snyder says:

    Ah, out of all of them, I’ve only read a couple Kate Morton books. Loved them, and must read more! I’ve been wanting to read Louise Penny, but another book always gets into the line up first!

    I love Lucinda Riley (read all but the two most recent), Liz Curtis Higgs (her series that starts with Thorn in my Heart, oh my it’s delicious and addicting), and most recently, Maeve Binchy (just started with Maeve but I do love her writing style and the fact that her stories are based in Ireland).

  69. Gloria says:

    I love Ashburn by Julia Erickson. She also wrote Diamond. It is a 3 book series and she is working on book 3 now. Fantastic reading! I couldn’t put them down! Check them out on Amazon.

    • Have you ever read Marne Davis Kellogg’s Kick Keswick series? Kick is the most wonderful heroine–she’s a jewel thief who’s turned her life around. Sort of. I read these books every year. They are so much fun!

  70. Donna Bridges says:

    I too love Kate Morton especially The Secret Garden one , I am Australian and enjoy Fiona MacIntosh and Monica McInerney, I also enjoy Kate Forsyth , such lush writing it’s Devine.

  71. Karyn says:

    Thanks for the suggestions! DEFINITELY binge read everything by Elizabeth Berg, and Alan Bradley’s “Flavia de Luce” series!

  72. Rose says:

    I’ve binge read the books of Liane Moriarty and Jodi Picoult. Now, on another binge reading mania with the books of Diane Chamberlain. Very entertaining! Just the right amount of heart, drama and mystery. I’m on her 6th book already!

  73. Adrianna Cobb says:

    If you are I interested in creepy mystery set in Ireland, Tana French is amazing. It’s not exactly a series but it builds, the first is In the Woods and it’s my least favorite. Power through though because the Likeness is the second and it’s amazing.

  74. Andi says:

    I just discovered Susanna Kearsley. She writes delicious Gothic novels that are at mostly set in modern day. I read The Winter Sea last week, which was listed as a book enjoyed by one of my favorite authors (Monica McCarty who writes Scottish romance). Yesterday, I read The Shadowy Horses, and today I’m reading The Rose Garden. I LOVE to binge read authors.

    • Raela says:

      She’s one of my all-time favorite authors! I always warn people to read The Winter Sea and Shadowy Horses prior to Firebird, but you’re already all set! The only sad thing about her is that she only publishes about once every two years 🙁

  75. Bonnie V. Walker says:

    I also love all these mentioned in the comments. I would add Helen Gaynor to this list, as well as Lucinda Riley. I have just discovered Lousie Penny, and have ordered a couple more of her books.

    Gaining new knowledge from all your comments. Keep them coming!

    Bonnie V.

  76. Jana says:

    Maeve Binchy – I cannot get enough of her writing. Her characters are so complete, and her dialogue is so believable. On top of that, I want to be in the beautiful places where her stories take place. She so often throws in a twist, and yet it is all so realistic.

  77. Cezanne says:

    I LOVED Garden Spells. A friend borrowed me a copy and I went and immediately bought it. Sadly, I have not read any of her othrr works.

  78. Jen says:

    Sarah Addison Allen is one of my absolute favorites. I met her at a book signing a couple of years ago and she is her books in human form. Meeting her made reading her books even better! Kate Morton is great as well. 2 of my other favorites are Sarah Jio and Susanna Kearsley.

  79. Katie says:

    I love Sarah Addison Allen!! And I love binge reading all of one author’s books at a time. Last year was Jo Nesbo for me, but before that was my absolute favorite– Michael Connelly. I’ve been wanting to read the Chief Inspector Gamache series by Louise Penny for a while but haven’t gotten around to it yet. Maybe 2017 is the year!

  80. Toni says:

    I binged on Deanna Raybourn’s Lady Julia series. I’m about to start the second book in her Veronica Speedwell series, but I hate waiting for the new ones to arrive! I’d much rather have it all at once. I haven’t read the standalone books yet but I wonder how they compare.

  81. Terry says:

    Louise Penny’s novels hooked me in. Started in the middle and went back to ‘Still Life’ worth it to meet the town’s residents.

  82. Mari-Kate says:

    Menna van Praag – she is like the British Sarah Addison Allen and I’ve devoured everything she’s ever published!

  83. Mari-Kate says:

    …also Sarah Jio, Hazel Gaynor, Barbara O’Neal, Jenny Colgan, Susan Meissner, Sarah Creech, Stephanie Knipper, Mary Rickert…I could keep going – so many great authors out there.

    • Raela says:

      Can you tell me your favorite Susan Meissner? I have been meaning to read one of hers and would love a rec of where to start!

  84. Mari-Kate says:

    My top 3 right now are: A Fall of Marigolds, Secrets of a Charmed Life, and Lady in Waiting, which I just finished last week. There a few more that I haven’t gotten around to reading yet. Happy reading!

  85. Bonnie Walker says:

    Anything by Kristen Hannah, Tradd Street Mysteries by Karen White, for light reading…..Fannie Flagg for humor, and Helen Gaynor for Anytime.

  86. Paige says:

    I love Linda Fairstein! The Alex Cooper series are like a book version of law and order SVU. Great characters and even better history of NYC! I’ve read 14/18 of the series in the last 3 weeks and will prob finish the rest by next week.

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