Sunday, 15 January 2012

Sunday morning post...

I have something planned for Wednesday morning, so I decided that I would write my post early this week. But as I sit down with my cup of chai tea on this brisk, sunny Sunday morning, I realize that there is little to write about in terms of books for me, so this may be a short post.

I believe that in one of my recent posts I talked about book ruts, or the waste of valuable reading time.  Well, I'm experiencing that again right now.  It's too early to start Pride and Prejudice, our next bookclub selection, and I just finished an Elizabeth George novel, so I don't know that I want to read another.  I was thinking that I wanted to read something by someone I've never read before, or at least a novel that I've never read before.  I went to the paperback stacks on Thursday during my lunch and took a few novels, some from regular fiction, but most from the mystery section, as I felt like a good mystery would suit my mood.  I took a book by Peter Abraham, I don't recall the title, an Ian Rankin mystery, a mystery by Colleen McCullough (remember Thornbirds?), something by John Connolly, and something else I don't recall.  As I tried the first page of each, Abraham and Rankin were immediately returned, as well as the "something else".  I had high hopes for the McCullough novel, but by Friday, when I took it to read over lunch and found that I just wasn't interested in the story, I knew it, too, had to go.  The John Connolly novel is pretty good.  I brought it home to read over the weekend and it's proving to be interesting enough that I may stick with it, although so far it has not been one that I absolutely cannot put down, like some others I've read recently (the Zoe Heller and the John Le Carre come to mind).  The novel is entitled The Lovers, and it is about a private investigator who, because of a recent disappearance, goes in search of answers as to why his police officer father, 25 years earlier, shot and killed two teenaged boys and then killed himself.  I've read one other book by this author, The Book of Lost Things, which was quite lyrical and haunting, a bit creepy and somewhat fable-like, if I recall correctly.  This novel, too, is lyrically written and haunting in tone.  I like books in which adult characters try to find answers to childhood mysteries, as you get the child's perspective juxtaposed with the more informed, more "symbolic" (or even psychological?) adult interpretation of events.  I have recently come to the conclusion that I do not like adult novels written from the point of view of a child or teen.  This became evident when I read A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews, and tried to read Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley and Room by Emma Donoghue.  The first is from the point of view of a teenager in a Mennonite community in I think somewhere in Saskatchewan, the next is from the point of view of a child "detective" in 1950s Britain, and the last is from the point of view of a 5-year old boy who lives in a single room with his mother.  Incidentally, I'm listening to Room as an audiobook right now, and while the child's point of view is, to me, rather annoying, I'm very intrigued by the story and want to find out why they are being held hostage in this room (if I were reading the physical book, I would just skip ahead, but I can't do that with an audiobook!).  More on that book when I finish it.  Anyways, getting back to the types of books I do like, other examples of this type of novel that I've read and enjoyed are The Summer that Never Was by Peter Robinson, in which DCI Banks revisits the unsolved mystery of the disappearance of his boyhood friend as it relates to a recent disappearance, and Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood, in which an adult artist recalls her childhood as she prepares for a retrospective in Toronto.  These are just a couple of examples.  Oh, another fabulous (in my opinion!) novel like this is Laura Lippman's What the Dead Know.  I think I will stay with The Lovers and see what happens.

To add to the problem of my indecision in terms of reading materials this weekend, I was at a second-hand store yesterday and happened to find a trade paperback copy of P.D. James' The Children of Men for $2.00.  I love trade paperbacks, and this one looks to be in excellent condition.  I don't think I've ever read any P.D. James, although I think I've started one or two mysteries in the "Adam Dalgliesh" series.  I saw the film version of this novel years ago, with Clive Owen and Julianne Moore, and I thought it was an interesting story, somewhat like Atwood's A Handmaid's Tale but different.  I like dystopian novels like Atwood's and Lois Lowry's The Giver, so I thought this would be a great purchase and a worthwhile addition to my book collection.  I was so excited by my purchase that I started reading it last night, but it didn't immediately "grab" me, so I think I will stick with John Connolly for now.

Wow, I didn't expect to write so much after having read so little!  But there you go, I really enjoy talking about books and the book selection process.  I'm now going to enjoy the rest of the day and hopefully take advantage of hours of quality reading time this afternoon.

Bye for now!
Julie

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