#21 -- "Tumbleweed" by Janwillem van de Wetering (re-read)
#22 -- "On Snooker" by Mordecai Richler
I was in Amsterdam, once -- a factoid that always draws knowing winks and stupid "420" jokes, until I point out that I was five years old at the time. I remember nothing about it, except for being terrified by a fairly innocuous painting on a hotel wall, and some strange half-remembered (and possibly imagined) miniature city.
Delving back into the Amsterdam Cops novels (yeah, I read another) makes it seem like a pretty cool place, a peaceful and thoughtful city, where cops and criminals sit down together and discuss philosophies of life. "Tumbleweed," the second book in the series, starts getting me to where I thought I remembered these books to be -- quirky and intelligent, with a gift for the unexpected. I'm (really) going to read some new things now, but I'm glad to have rediscovered these.
I've never played snooker. I always thought it to be basically pool under a different name, but apparently it's very different aside from the cue/ball/table combination. I don't have much more understanding of it now, but Richler was such an entertaining writer that it doesn't matter.
I may not understand what's going on in his retelling of the classic matches, but he makes them gripping anyhow. And being Richler, he goes on all sorts of asides -- hockey, England, Canada, Montreal in the 1940s, growing up Jewish, etc. And they're all entertaining. This (a gift -- thanks, A!) is the first Richler that I've read in five or six years... I'll have to dig up some more of his back catalog.