Are You Gonna Read That?

Although the vast majority of raising The Kid has been fun, rewarding, and taught me about the unending nature of a human’s ability to love, there is one area of deep disappointment.

The Kid doesn’t like Trixie Belden books.

My generation Trixie.

Trixie and her friends, the Bob-Whites, have adventures and solve mysteries in the Hudson Valley.  Growing up in a military family that moved every three years or so, these kids were constant friends.

I so looked forward to sharing them.  When The Kid was a toddler, I found the first sixteen at a used bookstore, bought them, and put them away until my child was ready.

Trixie, The Next Generation

I was so excited when it was time.

Yeah, huge bust.  The Kid didn’t like them. 

There are books we both love, but all those daydreams about passing Trixie books along and having breathless confabs discussing plot, characters, and settings went up in smoke.

The Kid’s very favorite book. Petey and I found an autographed one for a birthday one year that has become our child’s most prized possession.

But, recently, it’s happened.

It’s not those childhood faves, but a genre that’s captured us both.

They’re modern reinterpretations of the thriller.  They are the fast-paced combination of mystery, adventure, and psychological studies.  But the thing we love the most about them are the twists.

If the perpetrator is someone completely unexpected, or the entire story flips in the last chapter in an organic and believable way, we are all over that book like a pair of brand-new spandex yoga pants.

I discovered them and introduced them to my bookworm child.

Can we just change the subject?

They have been a godsend for The Kid, who is high risk and thus, self-quarantining.  You can only have so many deep conversations with the dog before the dog starts talking back.

During these preposterous, unprecedented times, it’s imperative to have new stuff rattling around your brainbox—preferably new stuff that excites you and which you can share and discuss with others.

The Passengers, by John Marrs, is the novel that started it all.

This ridiculous cover hides a terrific story.

It’s set in England, in the near future, when self-driving cars have become mandatory.  Your five-year-old child or your ninety-year-old blind grandmother can travel both in safety and solitude.


Until eight cars are hacked and held hostage, taken under the malevolent control of a mysterious mastermind, and every second of their terror is live-streamed to the world.  On almost every page is a revelation that will make your jaw drop.

The Kid finished it in one sitting, and we still talk about it.

So, I started making recommendations.

Another one we loved was, No Exit, by Taylor Adams.  It’s the story of a group of travelers snowed in overnight at a mountain rest stop.  But, one of them is a psychopath.  It’s a cat and mouse game where they have no idea who the cat is, what he’s done, or what he’s capable of.

The Night Before, by Wendy Walker, is a race against time as a fragile woman goes on an internet date, and doesn’t return.  Her sister works backward to find her, along the way discovering secrets about her husband and her own life.

Currently, it’s I’m very excited to be reading The Splendid and the Vile, not a thriller, but new nonfiction by the king of meticulously researched, eminently readable nonfiction; Erik Larson, author of Devil In The White City.

This one’s a year in the life of Winston Churchill and his inner circle beginning on the day he was named Prime Minister.  During this time, the Nazis conducted the blitz on London, raining down an astronomical 30,000 bombs, and killing 40,000 citizens.

Now, like then, we all need diversion.  So pick up a book and take a mental trip.

Might I recommend a girl named Trixie Belden?

Thanks for your time.

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