Saturday, October 16, 2004

A little light reading

I've got a monumental amount of work to do this weekend--and have been crazy busy all week, too--but of course there's always time to squeeze in a few novels. On the recommendation of my friend M., who lent it to me, I read KJ Erickson's Third Person Singular. Quite good, but marred by various implausibilities. Will check out further ones in the series--the Minneapolis setting isn't bad. And rather better, I think, was Carol Lea Benjamin's Fall Guy. I was wary of this one--somebody should tell the publicity folks at William Morrow that describing this woman's first novel on the flap copy as "elevating the canine mystery novel out of the lighthearted realm of cozy" is NOT a very good recommendation. However a better way of describing it would be to say it's PI NY noir--the dog is a very fully realized character (and certainly a far more plausible one than the eight-year-old son in Erickson's book, who serves a similar function), the narrator is an attractive character, and it thoughtfully treats the post-9/11 NY thing. I would strongly recommend this one to anyone who likes, oh, Sara Paretsky and Dick Francis. It's very well-written. (Though it's true that reading all those novels by Ken Bruen and those other guys I got tipped off to from Sarah Weinman's website (Charlie Williams and Kevin Wignall and such) has spoiled me for a normally good crime novel and impossibly raised my expectations...)

Halfway through The Plot Against America. I wish there hadn't been quite so much hype--I love Philip Roth in general, and I'm certainly enjoying the book, but I'm finding there to be something a bit sterile about the writing. I'll see what I think when I'm finished.

Must get to work now. I've had two rather exciting invitations--of completely different kinds--in the last two days; one of which will involve some work in December and January, the other of which plunged me into a frenzy right now. And wreaks further havoc with my weekend work schedule. However, I'm not complaining, it's all good and also I've had many years of life where I was tempted to laugh in the face of people who say things like "Oh, there aren't enough hours in the day" or "Life's too short." If you are rather depressed, there are always too many hours in the day and it is impossible to imagine feeling that life's too short! So this last year or two has been a great improvement.

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