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Friday, October 25, 2019

Late October Book Lore--Christmas Preview Not So Hot

Tess Gerritsen's The Shape of Night was  a rewarding read for me. I do love it when suspense writers try their hand at a gothic novel. (Remember Elly Griffiths' achievement published early in 2019--see my "Books Read in 2019" booklist in the sidebar.)
And, you know, even though I guessed early on who the murderer was, (NOT because of any sleuthish abilities on my part), I enjoyed the ride just as much because it was so wonderful watching it all come together, or to put it another way, to watch it all fall out.
Dyed-in-the-wool mystery hounds may well disagree with me on this, and I value their opinions. And I suppose I do wish it had been a bit harder to guess, but that doesn't take away from what I loved about the book. The old Maine house on the coast. The ghost who promised to protect, but who also promised pleasure and pain. And the characters who seemed culpable but were heroic.  

Late this afternoon I finished Friday the Rabbi Slept Late by Harry Kemelman, which was published in 1964. It was very good, largely because it was so different from the standard mystery. I appreciated learning more about the unique role of a rabbi in a Jewish congregation, as opposed to a Protestant minister or a Catholic priest in their congregations. The early 1960s setting reminded me of what might be incorrectly called "a simpler time." And as this book proves, and as a close examination of the times and my life as a youngster proves, there was absolutely nothing simple about the early 1960s, nor the 1950s. I am sure I will read another in the series. Probably the Saturday volume.

And in seasonal news, I have started reading a Christmas novel or two or three,  and so far they are not hitting the mark, not by a long shot. They have been downright DULLSVILLE as compared to previous years.
So I sample a book, sigh a lot, and toss it aside.
Then sample another and toss aside again, extremely disappointed.
(Lots have come from the library, so I am thankful I didn't invest in them.)

Then I started reading my very first Nancy Thayer novel of all time--her Christmas title for 2019, set on Nantucket Island, entitled Let It Snow. I've managed to get to the one-third mark and it is SO BORING. I keep thinking the excitement is starting to get off the ground, but it's a tepid glow, like sitting in lukewarm bath water in a frigid bathroom.
And now this passage has made for some very dull reading indeed. I tell you what--When I find a really good one, I'll let you know. Until then, just picture me frisbeeing Christmas titles across the reading loft! Fetch, Sandy!


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10 comments:

  1. Sorry that the Christmas novels are not working out for you. I had planned to read some Christmas mysteries soon, but haven't decided what to read. I am about to read a book set in Sweden and it is very long, so I hope I like it. Or I can just give up on it if I don't.

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    1. Hi Tracy,
      Do tell when you know which Christmas mysteries you might read. And Sweden--and a very long one, too. You have me guessing. I'll be interested to hear how it sums up.

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  2. Good point about the early sixties and late fifties not being simple. I do not think that any era is, but we sometimes oversimplify these times. One way to appreciate their complexity is to read books from the time.

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    1. Hi Brian,
      I agree that every era is very complex--my study of history has certainly shown me that. And that's what makes it all so interesting. I need to catch up with what you've been reading lately. My Sandy has fractured my time somewhat. But she's really settling in now.

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  3. I actually don't mind knowing early on who did the murder and anyway, you can never be completely certain. Loads of times I thought I was sure and er... wrong! LOL But sometimes you just know. I read the first in one of Val McDermid's crime series and within a few pages I knew, and so it turned out to be. I must get to book 2 of the Rabbi books too, read the first one back in January but it feels like a couple of years.

    Not sure what I'll be reading for Christmas but I do have a couple of crime books, and the Maisie Dobbs I'm just finishing is set at Christmas.

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    1. Hi Cath,
      That's so true--even when I guess (and I so rarely do accurately), I don't believe my choice, and I read as acutely as all get out to see how things shape up. I think you might like this one--the Maine setting is captivating.
      And I'm so keen to know which Maisie Dobbs is set at Christmastide. Happy reading!

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  4. I always try to read a few holiday books but, they are generally so fluffy and boring - I agree. Maybe a few Christmas mysteries this year?

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    1. Hi Diane,
      Yes, I'm definitely open to Christmas mysteries. But, you know, I should post a list of the truly worthwhile Christmas novels I've read over the past ten or more years.

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  5. The Maisie Dobbs book set at Christmas is Among the Dead, book 6 I think. Just finished and found it incredibly moving and thoughtful.

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    1. Hi Cath,
      I'm so glad to know the Maisie Dobbs title that is set during Christmas. I finished #4 this year. Maybe if I'm desperate (which I am), I'll skip ahead to #6.
      I agree completely that the books are so moving and, as you say, thoughtful. So good!!

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