Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Oprah's Book Club

#21 -- "Tumbleweed" by Janwillem van de Wetering (re-read)

and

#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.

1 comment:

Nanuk of the North said...

(Twilight Zone music)
How weird. My pal Mr. Anonymous and I were just discussing snooker today for the first time in years.

He tried to teach me to play snooker years ago, until it became painfully obvious that the physics of where one ball hits another and where it goes after that were then and will always remain a mystery to me. This goes for all billiards. It broke my heart to fail because playing pool is just so darn cool.

I haven't read Richler On Snooker, though. I think I've read just about everything else he ever wrote. He was the best.