Sunday, June 21, 2009

Light reading catch-up

Before I left New York, I obtained a huge pile of books by Barbara Hambly and Patricia Wrede via the BorrowDirect library system - spinoffs from the original Jo Walton recommendation. These are the sorts of books that are difficult to get hold of usefully through the library, a used bookseller of quality would be better - it is often hard even to tell where something is in a particular series (it only gradually dawned on me, as I read Traveling with the Dead, that it must be a sequel - it is the publisher's rather than the author's responsibility to mark this in some way! - and Wrede's The Magician's Ward is also a later installment in a story begun elsewhere, though in this case it was both marked inside the book by way of a list of titles in various series and also more effectively handled by the author).

These books are well-written but derivative - in particular I find Wrede's novels very delightful (I was halfway through another one, too, only didn't want to pack library books in my luggage!), only too strongly derivative of Georgette Heyer, who invented a world and an idiom that continue to influence popular fiction of various kinds in a fashion that is interesting to observe.

I have finished the Ross MacDonald (Jack Reacher avant la lettre!) and Cold Comfort Farm (hmmm, some funny moments, but I cannot say I was captivated by it - I kept on wishing I were reading I Capture the Castle instead!).

On the plane the other day I gulped down Michael Connelly's The Scarecrow - Connelly is not my personally absolute favorite crime writer, but I think he really is a genius of light reading, he is such a compelling and skillful writer of genre fiction, absolutely and wonderfully reliably so - and Gillian Flynn's Sharp Objects (could have been better plotted, but for the most part very appealing).

I've got a bit of a hodgepodge of light reading with me on this trip. I am planning to restock at several junctures: an expensive and thus necessarily modest amount of precautionary book-shopping at the excellent Caymanian Books & Books, a thrillingly chancy bet that there will be 10-12 hours' worth of stuff at some airport store in Miami that I would be willing to read and then an absolutely lavish spree at Heathrow for the trip home and beyond!

No comments:

Post a Comment