Thursday, 15 March 2012

Thursday evening post...

As I mentioned in my previous post, I have started a new job this week and so I will be experimenting with different posting times to find one that suits my schedule as well as my old time did.  And I suspect that this will be a short entry, as I'm tired from all the new things I've been learning.  But, unlike my prediction, I do in fact have a hot cup of steeped chai tea beside me as I write this on a Thursday evening... mmm, my first cup all week!!

After I finished Rankin's The Impossible Dead, I decided to read the next Elizabeth George mystery in the series, which I had on my shelf at home.  For the Sake of Elena tells the story of a Cambridge student who is murdered while running one foggy morning.  The case is complicated because the student was deaf, which added additional possible motives for her murder on top of those that existed because her father is a well-respected member of the staff at the school who is being strongly considered for a highly coveted promotion.  The mystery and the investigation were definitely up to the standard I as a reader have come to expect from George, and of course there was the inevitable romantic element of Tommy and Helen.  But I felt that this novel was really exploring the nature of the relationships people have, all sorts of relationships, from fathers and daughters to husbands and wives, and every type of relationship in between, and the expectations people have of others in these relationships, often differing greatly from one party to the other.  While this was not the best mystery I've ever read, it was certainly complex enough and had enough additional storylines to keep me reading diligently to the end.

Having said that, this novel was not what I wanted to read next.  I looked at the notebook where I write down all the books I've read (yes, a handwritten list in a coil notebook!!) and noted that, of the last maybe 10 books I read, 8 of them were British mysteries.  I wanted a variety once I finished that novel.  But since I am no longer working at the library, and so am not surrounded by an endless supply of books every day, I had to resort to checking out my own bookshelves.  I actually want to write a whole post about personal libraries as compared to public ones, but that's for another day when I feel more inspired.  (Don't worry, I still work in a book-related job, but it's in more of a buying capacity than a borrowing one).  I was unsure of what to read, but I've listened to Kate Atkinson's novels, at least 2 of her "Jackson Brodie" series, and really enjoyed them.  While they are also British mysteries, there is, in my opinion, a more personal aspect to these novels, where the reader feels that she is really getting to know the main characters' lives and personalities, and it is just incidental that mysteries happen to be part of the exploration into their lives.  Generally, the murders or mysteries took place many years ago, and Brodie is just trying to solve these "cold cases" to help those left behind to find peace and move beyond their tragedies.  I really enjoyed When Will There Be Good News? (that's an excellent title, don't you think?!), the third in the series.  It was the first of her books that I read, and actually I didn't read it, I listened to it.  Then I think I listened to Case Histories, the first in the series.  I don't think I listened to the second, One Good Deed, , but since these have all been made into a 6-part BBC series entitled  "Case Histories", I've at least watched it.  The reason I mention all this is that I have a copy of the fourth book, Started Early, Took My Dog, and was going to pick it up and read it, but decided that I should actually read Case Histories first in order to refresh my memory.  Conveniently, I also had a copy of that book on my shelf.  I'm reading it now and it's great!!  I don't think it should be shelved among the Mysteries in a library or a bookstore, because it's so much more than that, like a slice of life, a "human interest" story taken beyond the short paragraph in the newspaper and explored fully to resolution.  There are three "Case Histories" in which Jackson becomes involved in this novel, a young woman who was shot at work by a man in a yellow golfing sweater who came into the law office looking for her father a decade ago, a 3-year old who disappeared from a tent in her backyard where she was sleeping with her sister 34 years ago, and a woman who may or may not have used an axe to kill her husband as she struggled with post-partum depression 25 years earlier.  There is something haunting and sad, but ultimately "human" about Atkinson's novels that compel this reader to read at every available moment.  I'm not sure whether I will try to read them all in order before I read Started Early, Took My Dog, but now I think I'm hooked!!  (That's not necessarily a bad thing!)

Alright, it's getting late and I still haven't read at all tonight, so I better sign off.  Hopefully I'll get into a posting routine and will feel more inspired next time.

Bye for now!
Julie

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