Sunday, May 18, 2008

I May Not Do Much Else...

...but I do read books.

#15 -- "The Dark is Rising" by Susan Cooper

Not too hard to guess that after I read "Over Sea, Under Stone" I'd go ahead and read the next book in the series. This was actually the first I read when I was a kid and I remember being really unsettled by it -- can see why, it's a bit darker and spookier than the first book. Really satisfying, but I think it's time to put the Cooper books aside for a bit and write my own.

#16 -- "On the House" by Simon Read

Eh. A true-crime book concerning the really bizarre murder of a depression-era drunk -- one that took the rather inept killers multiple tries. The problem is that you know most of the bizarre elements by the time you've read the back cover and the introduction, and you know who's responsible from the start. So 95% of the book is just explaining how it came to pass.

#17 -- "The Yiddish Policemen's Union" by Michael Chabon

I feared that all the raves about this might put my expectations too high, but this is so damn entertaining. The basics: post-World War II the Jews of Europe settled in Sitka, Alaska, rather than Israel; now, 60 years later, their lease is about to run out. Meyer Landsman is an alcoholic police detective, trying to solve crimes that people would rather see swept under the rug. The structure is gonna be familiar to anyone who's read any hard-boiled novel ever, but two things really put this on a level of its own: 1) Chabon really fully realizes his made-up world, and it's fascinating, and 2) when Chabon is on he can write rings about just about anyone on Earth, and he's on pretty much non-stop here. I thought "Mysteries of Pittsburgh" was good, "Adventures of Kavalier and Clay" great, but this is his best one yet.

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