In recent weeks I've had the above question put to me, after explaining I'm a voracious reader of mystery books. "Sure," I answered, "I sometimes surprise my librarian with a known author of good books. On my last trip to the best "store" for books, I spied an author, Nicholas Evans, and found he had his fourth book The Divide published. An Englishman, he is the writer of the popular The Horse Whisperer and The Smoke Jumper.
I've also read a few of the best 100 books of the year. One of my non-mystery favorite authors is Alexander McCall Smith, author of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series. This group of stories is set in Botswana and gives a delightful running account of a woman's life in the dusty country that she finds appealing.
When I was sure I was going to visit Los Alamos, I read the story of its birth, which wasn't a mystery novel, although the bomb business was kept a mystery; I want to reread Hiroshima by John Hersey.
For those who think authors like Tony Hillerman, Lee Child, Harlan Corban, and Kathy Reichs aren't real writers; well, they are. Writers of mystery and intrigue have grown in popularity over the years. Remember how popular Sherlock Holmes series were? Writers of this genre have found their place in the world of books.
I guess there's no one list called the Best Books of the Year. I've found from various websites that the best books of Publisher's Weekly will differ from that of New York Times Book Review or of Barnes and Nobles Best List. In each there are always one or two mystery writers. "Best" may mean the most sought after books, the ones with the biggest sales, or the number of published ones.
I read what will transport me to another world: biographies, travel accounts, histories, and those by foreign writers. Mostly,I just want to be entertained, not educated in politics, religion, or world events unless the time is ripe for it. I don't read self-help books, cook books, or practical books on gardening or cleaning or mixing drinks or preparing for a party, for example. Do those books help one to be a widely-read reader?
On my bookshelf there are a number of non-fiction books written by talk-show hosts, political figures, and admired people, and a few poetry and meditation books, but I've not had the inclination to read them--yet. There'll come a time when I no longer can trudge to the library or the local bookstore and will have to reach into my book collection, but until then, those books will take up space on my bookshelves.