Stephen Buehler author
By Stephen Buehler

I started this blog with one idea but the words weren’t flowing. Then I tried another idea but once again it was like pulling teeth. (I’ve never pulled a tooth but I assume it’s a hard task to accomplish). The first idea was how I come up with character names and the second one was about rejection. (Once again rejection had come knocking on front door). I have thoughts and experience with both of these topics but I was struggling to put words on paper. I took a break and sat in my creative chair, a recliner in my office where I do most of my creative thinking.


I started doodling ideas and developed more thoughts on the above topics but still wasn’t feeling it. I looked around the room and my eyes settled on The Hardy Boys’ Detective Handbook. I’ve had that book since I was 9 or 10. I started thinking about what my reading habits were like and how they started.hardy-boys-detective-handbook

Here’s my path to what I read today.

From a very young age I was a rabid reader. From Dr. Seuss to chapter books to Landmark bios.

Like a lot of people, my introduction to reading mysteries was through The Hardy Boys series. I wanted to be Frank or Joe Hardy, solving crimes (hence the Detective Handbook) and having big adventures. I had quite a collection but sold them before moving to California. I still kick myself about that.

At some point my mother, also a huge reader, loaned me one of her Agatha Christie book’s, The Big Four, a Hercule Poirot novel. I was hooked. I loved the puzzle aspect and both Poirot and Miss Marple became my best friends. Afterwards I’d discuss what I read with my mother and we’d tell each other when we figured out who the killer was. She was better at it then me. At least that’s the way I remember it.

When I moved to Los Angeles, of course I started reading Raymond Chandler. There was a who-done-it aspect to his books, but at that time in my life, it more about the his use of language and writing style. From there I devoured Hammett and later Ross Macdonald. I loved PI books, especially written in the first person. I continued my PI cravings with the Spenser novels by Robert B. Parker. His books influenced my current writing style, especially by the witty dialogue. I’m not saying I’m successful at it, but I try.


Then I found Michael Connelly. Even though Bosch ‘s investigative techniques closely resemble that of a PI, the main focus was on crime drama story. It was the why’s that mattered now, not so much of the who. From there I started reading more crime drama, some with a little drama and small crimes and some with the crime as the central element.

Today I read many books at once. By my nightstand are a bunch of books which are most likely a crime drama or thriller. If the last book I read was very dark I usually follow it up with a cozy or two. I’m also usually reading a non-fiction book and lately they’ve had to do with performing magic. But sometimes they’re bios of people in history. I like to take baths so I definitely have a cozy sitting on the edge of the tub. If I fire up my Kindle, I’m regularly reading a book there, cozy or noir but mostly likely I’m also reading a book about writing. With all this reading going on I still read short stories from anthologies and mystery magazines, especially if a friend has written one. I try to read in the morning and before bed. Occasionally I’ll carve out a little time and read in the afternoon, the one time I’ll read and probably not fall asleep.


I like my reading life. The several hundred books in my to-be-read pile agree.

What kind of books did you first read? What is your reading life like now?


*                                *                                         *

Stephen Buehler’s short fiction has been published in numerous on-line publications including, Akashic Books. Not My Day appeared in the Last Exit to Murder anthology and A Job’s a Job in Believe Me or Not An Unreliable Anthology. His story, Seth’s Big Move will appear in the Last Exit to Murder anthology in the spring of 2017.  He’s expanding his novella, The Mindreading Murders about a magician into a novel and shopping around his mystery/comedy P.I. novel, Detective Rules. On top of all that he is a script consultant, magician and dog owner.




22 thoughts on “MY READING LIFE…

  1. Interesting! I have a pile of “to be read someday” books too. They are tucked in many different places in the house. I also read uusually 3-4 books at once, fiction and non-ficiton. Sounds like you are an avid reader as well as a writer. Great you could share that with your mom.


  2. Great post Stephen! I loved the Hardy Boys too as a child and also, of course, Nancy Drew. But I had eclectic reading habits, even then. I’d read a mystery, a non-fiction, a fiction, etc. As an adult I read voraciously and I thank God every day for books and good authors. It’s what began my desire to write. I always have a pile of books that I am currently reading, although when one really takes my fancy I’ll read it non-stop until it’s done. I love the classics and try to re-read them periodically. I really like Harlan Coben, Michael Connelly, Lisa Unger, plus so many of the older mystery writers that I can’t list them all. I belong to two book clubs and it’s interesting to read those selections as they are often out of my realm but I end up enjoying them very much. Thanks for reminding me of how much I like to read!


    1. L.
      The classic I return to every couple of years is To Kill a Mockingbird. It feels like each time I read it, it feels like the first time and I get something new out of it. I also like Harlan Coben but I haven’t read Lisa Unger. (Thanks for the tip).
      Thank you for reading and commenting on my blog.
      – Stephen


  3. I remember the Hardy Boys on TV, starring Shawn Cassidy and Parker Stevenson, and I think Nancy Drew was on TV as well — I never cease to be amazed how many books become TV series or movies. Thanks for sharing your reading habits with us, Stephen — great post!


  4. Stephen, believe it or not, my mystery reading follows yours pretty closely. Early reading was anything I could get my hands on, mostly poetry. I still remember writing poems and short stories when young.

    Now, if it is printed, I’ll have a go at reading it. If I were to clear my house of the books, I might even be able to find other things. Great post. Doris


  5. when I was growing up, I read Nancy Drew and The Bobsi twins mysteries. As an anult, I’ve lost my taste for detective stories, and I’ve never cared for fantasy or horror. I read a little of everything else but steer clear of too much violence. My favorite authors are Debbie Macomber and Danielle Steel.


  6. We definitely overlap on Robert B. Parker and Michael Connelly. Like Abbie, I read Bobbsey Twins as a kid, had over a dozen of their books. But I didn’t read much mystery beyond that until I got into my 30s. I read a lot of Dean Koontz as a teen. Now I can only read one – sometimes two books at once. I juggle between YA and crime fiction. Linda and I have similar tastes as I too love Harlan Coben, Lisa Unger, and Michael Connelly. I tend to go very dark and lately, I’ve been reading thrillers more and more. Great post, Stephen!


    1. Sarah,
      My sister read The Bobbsey Twins but I didn’t think they were as cool as The Hardy Boys so I never gave them a chance. I like to read a bunch of books at once but usually there’s one main novel and the others I read when I need a break from the #1 book. I didn’t get into Dean Koontz until my 30’s. The first couple books of Dean Koontz I read I really liked but then more often than not, the reality of what was going on didn’t live up to its premise. But I do like me a good thriller.
      Thank you for reading & commenting on my blog.
      – Stephen


  7. This is great Steve! I think all voracious readers can relate to a progression in our reading lives! I see myself in this. Well, except let’s substitute Hardy Brothers with Nancy Drew. 😊


  8. Fun post, Stephen. Interesting to see how you developed your love of mysteries. And I loved your mention of Landmark books. I used to devour those and have very fond memories of them. As for me, I think I started reading mysteries seriously as an adult. I’d read some Hardy Boys and other stuff as a kid, but I wasn’t hooked. I came to it through movies and wanting to read the books some of the movies I liked were based on and they were often noir and mystery. So I started seeking out those books and got hooked.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Paul,
      Speaking of Landmark books, I read a bio of Will Rodgers but I was disappointed in it because it wasn’t until the end that I realized that it wasn’t about Roy Rogers. As a kid I could spend hours in the library wanting to read all the books.
      Thank you for reading & commenting on my blog.
      – Stephen


  9. For my first books, I have to go back to childhood. In elementary school, I haunted the school’s library. Read baseball biographies and SF books — moon landings and trips to Mars. Back then Project Mercury had barely begun.


    1. Mike,
      As a kid I read all kinds of books. For a while I was hooked on sports books, like Catcher With a Glass Arm by Matt Christopher. I would find a new genre and then devour it. I never got much into SF until I was in my 20’s. Not sure why.
      Thank you for reading & commenting on my blog.
      – Stephen


    1. Cher’ley,
      I don’t know if my mind is in great shape. I can probably give you a long list of names that don’t think so but thank you for the compliment. I can’t imagine my life if I couldn’t read. I didn’t mention but just of, I usually have a book on CD going in my car as well.
      Thank you for reading & commenting on my blog.
      – Stephen


  10. Good article, Stephen. I try to read when I can, but I feel it is always too little as I have a 100+ to read. Usually it is at the end of the night and I’m fighting myself to stay awake (or have to put myself in spite of wanting to stay up.) Don Winslow is my current writing hero. I need to give the Spenser series a try.


  11. My mother introduced both my sister and I to reading when we were very young. We made weekly trips to the bookmobile. Our first selections were housed on the bottom shelf and we always felt like special when it was suggested we move up to an upper shelf.

    I have always been partial to books with a happy ending but I dabble in mysteries, or a detective story now and then. I don’t follow any [articular genre or authors I generally see what catches my fancy as I peruse the library shelves. Thanks for sharing


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.