Sunday, February 28, 2010

I Do Read, Honest

So this year I made a resolution to try to read more. I love reading, and I tend to just go home and sit on the sofa, then I go upstairs and read about a paragraph before I pass out, which means it can take a long time to get through a book. On weekends I make up for lost time, but generally, I figured it would be a good idea to turn off the TV and read a bit more.

And I have been doing that. I just haven't been updating the little photo widget. For one thing, I've been reading the collected works of Jeffrey Deaver. I wasn't super impressed with the first book I read by him, which was one of the Lincoln Rhyme books. It was okay, but I didn't really appreciate the difficulty of producing multiple books where your protagonist is in a wheelchair--imagine Rear Window with Jimmy Stewart in a body cast and Thelma Ritter as a man, and you're on the right track. Well, all I can say is that I'm a convert. I've read nearly everything he's written over the past few months, devouring many of the books in under a day. Yeah, it's cheesy reading and it's not developing my mind like all the econ books and history that Shifter's reading, but they're well worth reading. My favorite Deaver book so far is The Vanished Man, which I think has an interesting perspective on predators and why some of them are so successful.

I've also read two of the Dexter books. They're a little less satisfying than the Deaver books, but the dark humor of the TV series is obviously well-grounded in the original book, it's an eerie pleasure to observe Dexter's weirdly alien perspective up close and personal. I really appreciate the audacity of taking the flawed detective trope to its logical conclusion. It all started with Holmes's cocaine habit, and alcohol and broken marriages have been standard accessories for any really serious detective ever since. But writers danced for years now around the idea that detectives need a little of the beast in them to beat the baddies, and it's admirable satire to take that all the way. For me, the TV series offers a complex and nuanced commentary on what it is to be good and even what it is to be human--TV-Dexter is almost an ontological Ulysses, and that dimension is pretty flat in the novels so far. Then again, TV-Dexter has had something like 50 episodes to develop him--these things take longer in novels, and hopefully the character has a few years ahead of him.

Finally, I've been reading Sway and A Perfect Swarm. I'll try to give them a blog post of their own at some point--both books encourage random dipping into, which is both an asset and a hindrance, in that I don't feel finished with them even though I'm not sure I haven't read them both in their entirety by now.

So I haven't actually just quit at one book.... I just never said to myself, "there, I finished Sway" and got on with the next thing.

No comments: