06 June, 2011

books about death and crime, mostly

Hey, my dashboard changed! My hands are flapping about in a helpless manner. This feels weird. Unsettled whimperings.

I started reading Rebecca this evening - whoo boy.  Danvers has just taken her on the horrible tour of Rebecca's room.  The atmosphere is incredible.  I'm sure a lot of people probably say they relate to the main character - but I'm going to say so too.  Maybe because she's young and awkward, I just see a great deal of similarity between us.  I feel a bit desperate to please people sometimes, and I bump into things and hide from people.  Schoolgirlish, self-concious. And I'm not good about clothes and hair and things like that.
Maybe I'm in a morbid kind of mood or something, but I'm getting terribly wrapped up in the story.  I need to see the movie after this.  I think Hitchcock is almost the only person who could have got the particular feel of this book right in a film.  It sometimes seems like he's driving off fumes, if you know what I mean.   He can put a fat lot of sinister thoughts into your head with a quite remarkably tiny pinch of scary images.  (Of course, I'm saying only he could have done Rebecca right and I haven't seen it, but I'm basing this bold and completely un-researched assertion on the feel I've gotten from the Hitchcock films I have seen.  And didn't it get an academy award?  The only one he got?  Or am I making this up?)

Okay, I have an awesome life.
Last night I went to a meeting of the Orient Express book club at Barnes and Noble.  Oh yes.  On the way there, I decided that I wanted it to be either:
1. So horrible that it was funny
2. Young-ish people obviously reading scary psycho books, so I would know after getting a peek at them that I shouldn't even sit down
3. Or actually good.  Pleasantly geeky

It was the latter.  They're all at least fifty years old, and have been meeting for twelve years.  They were very friendly.  The leader lady told me that they read for pleasure - don't dissect things (yessss!).  They go to mystery dinner theatre shows.  The leader asked me if I'd read any mystery books lately, and I mentioned Dorothy Sayers.  "Oh, which version of him do you like better?" She asked me.  And - get this - I KNEW WHAT SHE WAS TALKING ABOUT!  I felt like a genius.  (To explain - when Dorothy Sayers wrote Lord Peter Wimsey, she made him a cross between Bertie Wooster and Fred Astaire and intended to do a few books and then marry him off and be done.  But, from what I've read, she got attached to him and, in the later books, made him a more complete character.  Some people like the early, more Bertie Wooster LPW more than the more human later one. I don't know which I like better.  From a pure, shallow enjoyment standpoint, the Bertie Wooster version is more fun.  But I am hugely attached to the more human version too.  So I don't know.  That's what I said to the leader lady.)

I am so going again.  I have to find a mystery book involving some sort of royal personage.  The club reads books by topic, so you don't have to buy anything.  Nice, I think.  It's a sort of title-swop, I suppose.

Also, I am reading A Short History of Nearly Everything.  You already know, dear blog, that I adore - worship - Bill Bryson.  I have dithered about how hilarious and witty he is, and how I feel well-traveled and somewhat brainier when I come away from his books.  Now, I can say (with incredulity) that he is actually capable of making me take an interest in science.  Or at least make me want to keep reading a very long book about it.  Right now I'm reading a bit about how Yellowstone park is basically one enormous volcano. (The sort that look like a champagne glass below the surface, from what I understand.  The name begins with a c and sounds like caldera or something similar.)  From the hints he is giving, I think we will probably all die if it blows.  Oh well.  At least it would be quick and exciting, what?


  1. Try the Bangkok series by John Burdett. Mystery and horror combined. And the protagonist is as flawed as he is a genius. You may like it.

  2. I certainly will. Thanks for the recommendation. I like flawed geniuses. I pretend that they can't be geniuses without the flaws, and then pique myself on my normal-ness. "Ha ha, I'm not a genius - not even close! - so I must be nearly perfect! Ha!" It's quite a magnificent piece of logic.