Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sunday Reading

As the nights grow cooler, I think it's time to enjoy curling up with a good mystery.

This wasn't it.

James Patterson made a name for himself writing edge-of-your-seat page turners, but in recent years has taken to collaborating with other writers (lots of other writers) so that his name is more of a franchise label than a promise of great suspense.

7th Heaven is part of a set of stories dubbed the Women's Murder Club series, many of them co-written with Maxine Paetra, and yes, they are NYT best sellers. Reading other people's reviews on the subject, the consensus seems to be that the ones Maxine has worked on are superior to the others in the series. But...

It's not a bad book. It's just not a great book. The chapters are short, the story keeps you moving forward, but the details are unsatisfying. Emotional questions and conflicts are raised, and then solved in very trite ways. The red herrings that are introduced are dismissed so quickly it's almost as if they were added in as an afterthought to inflate the total word count. (By the way, for an interesting etymology of the term Red Herring, go read author Lydia Kang's blog post from this past week on the subject here on her delightful blog "The Word is My Oyster.")

I wouldn't recommend this book, and am sad that it's the only book I had time to read this week. It left me with a real empty feeling in my gut, as if I hadn't read anything at all. Hopefully the next mystery on the TBR list will fill that hole - The Private Patient by P.D. James. James is a master of suspense, although I have to admit that it better be good or I won't get past the first few chapters. I'm not sure I'll finish a second unsatisfying book so quickly after my bitter disappointment with Patterson.

On the bright side, Barnes & Noble has a wonderful new set of reissued classics for both children and adults - my middle child was lured to the rack by a graphic skull and crossbones and begged me to buy him Treasure Island, the classic tale by Robert Louis Stevenson. So I bought it (how could I say no to a classic like that?) I can always borrow it if P.D. James doesn't do it for me.

He also begged for - and I mean begged for - the original Robin Hood and Huck Finn, but I told him I already own those and he can borrow my old books. Big Kudos to B&N for bringing back the classics and making them fresh in the eyes of a new generation! If you haven't noticed those racks, take a look. The hardcovers in the children's section have great cover illustrations and are $9.99. The soft cover versions in the adult section have black & white graphic woodcuts on the covers and are only $4.95. Great Christmas ideas... nice counter point to Halo Reach.

What are you planning to read this week?

P.S. I also saw a funny book in the children's section on the Halloween table, Dick and Jane and The Vampire. Classic Dick and Jane style wording and illustrations, but I'm not sure who the target audience for it is. Kids today don't start with Dick and Jane in school (and haven't for a long, long time) so the irony is kind of lost on them. Both my kids said, "Huh?" to it, not understanding the humor.

*sigh* File under the category of "It seemed like a good idea at the time..."

1 comment:

  1. Treasure Island...a very good choice. My kids really enjoyed it...lots of discussion followed. I'm currently reading "Rain Dance" by Joy DeKok. The story is about two women who are dealing with infertility and abortion. It's written in a very non-judgemental way and the author took the time to address both issues in a Biblical way. I'd recommend it!


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