Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Quick Reviews

Blogging is like life, like love...it does take attention, and I confess the ambition, insistence, habit, energy, attention does ebb and flow, but before the old year pours artificially into the new, here are a few very quick, crude and hopelessly superficial reviews of recent books read.

Dying to Fly Fish - David Leitz: Now that we are actively collecting every fly fishing mystery ever written here at Western's Library, I feel it my humble duty to read them all. This is one of the Max Addams/Whitefork Lodge mysteries, and a fun read. Leitz is a decent writer and knows the art of fishing with flies. Plenty of local color, situations and suspense (set in Vermont). Recommended.

Firehole River Murder - Raymond Kieft: Another recent FF mystery acquisition. Worst book I've read in decades.

The Quiet Girl - Peter Hoeg: Hoeg is an often unnerving and brilliant writer, but this newest attempt (the protagonist a clown/violinist/detective) seemed overly pretentious. At stake were children who could detect earthquakes, and real estate speculation in Denmark. I finished it however because it had moments.

The Right Mistake - Walter Mosley: I was pretty blown away by the first two Socco novels, but this one, an attempt on the part of Fortlow to build a center for discussion modeled loosely after the ancient Greek universities in a house he came to inhabit, fell a bit short. It lacked some of the earlier dramatic tension, was a bit over-insistent on Socco's bad-boy status (Mosley does not have to tell us he's a murderer and rapist every other time he mentions his name), and it seemed to come to a rather hasty resolution. However, Socrates Fortlow is one of the most interesting characters I've witnessed in contemporary fiction, and any text where he appears is worth reading.

The Maytrees - Annie Dillard: I love Annie Dillard. No, literally. I would marry her in a heartbeat, given many life changes. She is, as anyone who's read her knows, a stunning writer whose attention to detail is nearly unparalleled. This novel, her second, is a love story, a triangle actually, that wrestles with all the great themes. Set in Provincetown and Maine. Highly recommended.

Rock Crystal - Adalbert Stifter: A lovely little gem of a book, written in spare, under-stated style, about two towns, two children, and mountains. Subtle and almost fugal by design, the novel explores by penetration the forces of nature and community. Highly recommended.

Ulysses - Joyce: The beast that will not break me. Only 70 pages left. What a tome. It stands like Denali towering above anything around it.

Have a great New Years.

2 comments:

Moira said...

yo paul it's keefe still in the burbs, still with a thank you note in my piles, still with a form to fill out for your poems and still with your christmas card from four years gone by, came across your blog, scoop is in the DR as a peace corp volunteer, pees in a chamber pot, craps in an outhouse, takes showers outside, will probably get the peace prize in a few years, she has two years to go, Rocky is off to Argentina in 52 days and four hours, Oates and I did take a marriage sabatical last year tell Joanie it was because we slept on that futon, but managed to celebrate our 25th in December, come visit us, we have three empty bedrooms, maybe this week I'll get all that stuff out of my piles and in the snail mail to you, where is Jordan, hi to Joanie and thanks for a wonderful night at your abode sixteen months ago, it was a welcome reprieve from midlife manic marital meltdown...........ps tell Joanie my thyroid has finally stabilized

piper said...

Guess it pays to read my comments now and then! I'll pass the message along to j. We think about coming down now and then, with the cheap Allegiant flights and all. Maybe we can squeeze something into Feb. Jordo's still jamming. Take care.