Friday, 28 March 2008

keeping my head above water

After a good run of books, I seem to be chucking them to one side lately, untidy, impatient, expensive, loads of sins.
I can't seem to get into Benjamin Black [ aka John Banville - Booker winner] even tho these 2 latest books a have a crime inserted [thus the name disguise] and have been widely praised. I knew I would never read his winning sad story [life is sad enough] but at the mo his thriller has underwhelmed, tho I will give it another go.
I also got [i.e. paid Amazon] The Race by Richard North Patterson, as I had heard it enthusiastically reviewed on radio 5 [3pm Thursdays]. On the whole they do tend to review positively, maybe because the author is usually there, but the phone-in civilian reader is often harder.
The Race is a novel about the American election for POTUS, and was said to be uncannily prescient as the candidate is black. However I have tossed it aside as the author is one of those who describes people and things happening from the outside, rather than .......as they happen, if you see what I mean; an excess of adjectives may be another way of saying it. [Also the way i write I fear].
I picked up my next purchase "Body of Lies" , novel by David Ignatius, also a R5 choice, and another American, maybe that is where I am going wrong. At first it comes across well, he seems to have a deep and informed knowledge of the current situation in Iraq, his CIA character is an unlikely sensitive agent, I was steaming along, nodding my metaphorical head at the insights examined until it came to the blond with blue eyes. Things went down hill rapidly as Mr. Iganatius tackled sex and romance.
When I was young enough to go to Saturday morning pictures the boys used to sit up the front and boo and hiss when Hopalong Cassidy kissed Dale whatsit, some men still feel the same but are convinced by their agents that they can write about the sloppy bits if they try.
As an antidote to current issues I decided to have a go at Lark Rise to Candleford. To tell the truth I was annoyed at wasting money on my 2 hardbacks and wandered round Waterstones picking up 3 for 2, always disastrous as i can never find a decent 3rd one.
However after enjoying all ten episodes of L to C on the gog, I did think I would read the book, as the reading experience is usually even better.
Hmmmm. I am up to page 37 - I know how to kill a pig and chop it up, hang the bits and swop them with the neighbours, I have been led to appreciate the joys of growing turnips, but i have yet to be introduced to a Character.
I also "got" that Anne Enright book that won [hurray] The Gathering. At first i really enjoyed it, she is a very poetic writer, but after a while the depressing weight of damp pink flesh [one of her favourite topics] got me down and it has been thrown aside in favour of retaining a sense of humour.
I am not a book snob, I enjoy rubbish, if it carries me along with enthusiasm. The library van comes twice a month [I know there is a crudity in there] and I read both of the latest David Baldaccis, The Camel Club and the Collectors, they zing along, has creaky old persons as it's heroes and only becomes unbelievable when you realise how perfect the American good guys always are [ no friendly fire]. DB is OK, he writes a wildly patriotic plot while cunningly pointing up the flaws of American diplomacy, including water boarding.
Mr Pip also arrived on the library van, [Lloyd Jones], excellent stuff, unusual use of Dickens on New Guinea island, but after three quarters of joy it suddenly turned very nasty and I felt a bit mugged myself.
I heard Sara Peretsky on this week, she has written Bleeding Kansas, not a V I Warsawski which i usually enjoy, tho they can be over researched to my taste, but a "stand alone" as they called it about the reactionary inhabitants of Dorothy's home state. The reviewers praised it, but the phone-in said it was dead boring and he couldn't finish it, so now I am torn.
Lee Child was there too, but I had visitors and could only discern general cooing form the radio in the background. I haven't read any of his, so would be grateful for a steer.
I have the paperback of Donna Leon [in my 3 for 2] Suffer the little children, which i don't think i have read. [Oh the horror and shame of unwittingly buying a book twice.] I enjoy her crimes being set in Venice, although I have only spent a few days there, it is nice to wander the calles with her.
The last of my trio is What was Lost by Catherine Flynn, a Costa [which i should have been saying perhaps] first novel award. It looks like it may be depressing, so I will save Donna till last so she can cheer me up, crime solved - Venice still afloat.

1 comment:

Sue said...

Coincidence, I've just started reading Lee Child, and liking them very much except for the gory bits. I skip them to prevent sleepless nights, but the in-between bits and plots are whizzing me along. Try them. Killing Floor is the first.