The Edgar nominees for Best Novel were announced last week, and, in a moment of extravagance, I went out and bought all six. I can’t go out to dinner, I figured. Why not spend my money on books?

But the fact is, I really wanted to own these books. I wanted to be able to write in them and underline favorite sentences and learn from them. I’m a writing teacher and one thing I’m always telling my students is that there’s no better teacher than a book. (I was also an Edgar judge last year and so I know how much hard work goes into making these choices. The competition is stiff!)

But now the question is, which one to read first?

Kwei Quartey’s book, The Missing American, is set in Ghana, and that’s a country that fascinates me. So I might start there. But then there’s Heather Young’s The Distant Dead, which has to do with teachers and deserts. Always good. (I recognize that my decision-making process is completely irrational.)

Caroline Cooney’s book, Before She Was Helen, has to do with unlikeable neighbors, and it sounds juicy and fun. Ivy Pochoda’s book, These Women, seems gritty and intriguing. Richard Osman’s brook, The Thursday Murder Club, is a book that everyone has telling me I would like. For that reason I’ll probably read it last, and love it. (I know that’s irrational.)

And Deepa Anappara’s book, Djinn Patrol, was out of stock, so that’s one problem solved.

Which one would you read first? How do you decide?


  1. What a fascinating idea! I’ve never thought to buy all the nominees. I suppose I’d look at the reviews first and then the author’s bios and then read the one that struck my fancy. I have read The Thursday Murder Club and loved it. I heard its been optioned.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *