Monday, July 21, 2008

Fits and starts

The light reading fit came upon me very strongly yesterday afternoon in the aftermath of the slightly overwhelming race I did yesterday morning. Its main symptom was that although my apartment is bursting with relatively new and reasonably appealing unread books that people have sent me or that I have in many cases purchased myself with considerable enthusiasm, it really seemed as though there was nothing here that was at all what I wanted to read!

So I went to the bookstore and extravagantly purchased Robert Crais's Chasing Darkness, and it was delightfully good. There are certainly other more innovative or ground-breaking crime novelists out there, but Crais is in my opinion at the absolute top of the popular-fiction game; like Lee Child or Terry Pratchett, there is something effortlessly appealing about his writing, he has both the gift and the kind of execution that comes from many years of practice...

Two afterthoughts:

The main reason I linked to that race report is so that I could include "jellyfish" as a label for this post!

I have been thinking a great deal this summer about how I am not, really, when it comes down to it, a novelist. It happens that I love novels more than pretty much anything else in the world; I have always wanted to write them, I wrote my first (unpublished) one when I was about ten years old and I am sure I will continue writing them throughout my life. But I am much more strongly, though the words are pretentious to apply to oneself, a thinker and a historian and an analyzer than I am a storyteller. I tell stories in order to figure out what I think about things...


  1. Agree totally on Crais. And I actually just met him, can you believe that? He gave a talk in Harrogate and I spoke to him afterwards. Charming guy, loves science, and has a mean line in flowery shirts.

    There were a lot of "ladies of a certain age" in the audience, who I put down as Joe Pike groupies;-)

  2. 'I tell stories in order to figure out what I think about things...'

    Ahem. A damned fine reason to tell stories, and a lot better than some I've heard.