Saturday, July 07, 2012

Potboilers

Read two good cycling-related books today, quite different from one another.  The first is very strongly recommended - David Millar's Racing through the Dark.  In the first third or so I felt I saw a few suspect rhetorical gestures, but I had lost all doubt by the time I reached the main flow of the narrative - it is a mesmerizing book about the culture of professional cycling, the factors that tipped a young rider to dope or not to dope and the ideas about our own identities and selves (often misguided ideas) that are likely to affect decision-making in one's early twenties.  Anyway, a great read, and then I read Chris Cleave's Olympic cycling potpoiler Gold.  My English grandmother would have liked this book - it's second-rate, but in an agreeable way (it made me miss the best of Jilly Cooper), and it does something earnest in its attempt to make an argument about the kinds of life we choose to lead.

Miscellaneous other light reading: Karin Slaughter's Criminal: A Novel, which I thought was excellent (and admirably ambitious); a European crime novel called Lorraine Connection was illuminating but did not satisfy all my narrative desires fully; two serial-killer books by an author who displays the most frustrating combination of good-voice-and-character with absurd-notions-about-how-psychopaths-and-bureaux-of-investigation work.

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