Thursday, April 28, 2011

Books Read in 2011: "Pale Horse, Pale Rider" by Katherine Anne Porter



Wikipedia

Despite being a really slim volume of three novellas, I took my time reading this. So good. I think that I deliberately slowed down near the end, trying to make it last a while longer. Unlike some books that, despite their brief length, bog down, this one felt just right.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Books Read in 2011: "Blackmailer" by George Axelrod



Hard Case Crime. In paper, whenever possible, because it only adds to the experience for these titles.

A few months back, I read a post at a blog, Those Sexy Vintage Sleaze Books, about a book that sounded kind of interesting. As I read it, I thought it sounded pretty good and was about to do a search at Munsey's and Inkmesh to see if I could find it for free or cheap, when I scrolled down and saw that it had been re-released through Hard Case Crime. Hey!, I thought, I own all of those!

Decent, if lightweight. A pretty quick read, and I have to admit that I was surprised by the twist that I thought I saw coming. I like it when I read or watch something and grow frustrated, thinking it's all so obvious, and there's an honestly-won upending of my expectations. "Thought you were clever, eh? Thought you could read it from a mile away, eh? Ha!" Of course it was deliberate, and the author left clues and made insinuations that were supposed to make me think what I thought. There's still a confidence in storytelling, though, if you're willing to string people along like that.

That said, it's pretty good for what it is. It doesn't transcend the genre or anything, but it provided a couple of nights of fun as I read it.

Some good bits:

Standing there in the blazing sunlight I suddenly realized a basic fact. I'm against killing people. (p.76)

***

Anstruther's style was widely imitated. It is, when you come right down to it, a matter of using short sentences and having your characters speak tersely about death and the exotic scenery. (p.124)

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Books Read in 2011: "A Contract with God" by Will Eisner



I don't know what to say. It's both beautiful and repellent. Deeply satisfying and profoundly frustrating.

Need more.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Books Read in 2011: "Bliss" by Peter Carey



(Paper, this time.)

I really enjoyed this book, which shouldn't surprise me. I really liked "Jack Maggs," too, by the same author. They guy's won a Booker, so, you know, he's got some talent. This is something that I believe I picked up used at a library book fair a long, long time ago. It caught my eye on the shelf a couple of weekends back and I thought, Why not?

What surprised me is that the protagonist, Harry Joy, is supposed to be 39 years old at the start of the novel. I'm 39 years old, now, and for a couple of more months. But Harry felt so much older. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's a matter of my own self-perception.