According to author Sheldon Greene the keys to a good story are a plausible plot, intriguing characters, a sense of place, unpretentious writing, and a natural, symphonic flow. Greene is on Shelf Pleasure this week to explain his wide-ranging taste and recommends five recent reads that hit all the marks. Also on Shelf Pleasure, contributor Diana Y. Paul is back with tips on overcoming one of the most common challenges of being a writer (procrastination, anyone?).


From book reviews to book news, here are this week’s Shelf Pleasure must-reads:

Sheldon Greene’s Eclectic Reading
Author Sheldon Greene shares five captivating recent good books and explains why they work.

Writing Can Be A Blood Sport
Writing well can be difficult and painful. Diana Y. Paul talks about the challenges of being a writer—and offer her tips for how to conquer procrastination.

Why I Write About Sisters—Even Though I Only Have Brothers
Growing up with only brothers taught author Holly Robinson the importance of sisterhood. Robinson explains why her new novel, Folly Cove, revolves around sisters and their complex relationships.

Harry Potter Movie Marathon
Find out which bestselling author decided to quite writing to look after her kids and learn the word for buying books and not reading them in this week’s book news. And for you Harry Potter fans, discover when all eight Harry Potter films will be back in the theater—but for one week only!

Best New Books
Our picks for best books of the week include thriller and a mystery that are perfect for curling up with under the covers.

gregg-hurwtiz-the-rains write good books

As for our personal reading…

Gregg Hurwitz is one of our favorite adult thriller writers, so we were excited to check out his young adult debut. The Rains is a fun and scary (ok, and kind of gross) take on a zombie novel. Told through journal entries from the perspective of Chance Rain, we’re kept right on the edge of our seat watching him and his older brother, Patrick, fending off attacks from the adults they once knew and love. The brothers realize whatever kind of ferocious parasite has taken hold of the adults strikes anyone who is over 18…and Patrick’s birthday is only a few days away. Holed up with the other surviving kids, the Rain brothers are humanity’s only chance for survival. We can totally see this one exploding on the big screen!

Until next week, happy reading!