What I'm reading now: 13 February 14

I had really and truly believed that I was going to be finished the book by now, but no. Book in question is The God-fearer, by Dan Jacobson, and for all that it's a small book (160 pp), it's taking me a rather a long time. (This may have something to do with the fact that it travels with me in my backpack, underneath the current knitting project.) Now that I look at it, I realize I only have another seven pages to go.

Pardon me one moment.

*pages turn*

Right. So.

Picture a man, eighty years old, not entirely clear about the present, but very clear indeed about the past, now suddenly haunted by two child-like apparations. Kobus is baffled, and casting his mind back over the years, finds an incident from his youth that might explain these ghosts. He relives that time and considers again his actions then, weighing the past against the possible alternatives. The writing is deceptively simple and beautiful, and I can understand why it was shortlisted for a Whitbread Prize.

 

What I'm reading now: 13 February 07

A ticket to the boneyard: I've read all the Matt Scudder series by Lawrence Block ages ago. (The most recent one was published in 2011, but the series more or less ended in 2005 with All the Flowers are Dying; 2011's A drop of the hard stuff is a flashback novel.) However, I've been spending too much time staring at a screen, and a copy of A ticket to the boneyard was sitting right there on my coffee table, so I reread it. I'm glad I did. Matt Scudder is an alcoholic in recovery, an ex-cop, and an unlicensed investigator. A call from "Cousin Frances" alerts him that an old enemy is back, and both Matt and "his women" are in danger. There are no women in his life, though, not really, so because of his enemy's twisted reasoning, no woman who crosses Matt's path is safe. As he tries to keep himself and everyone else out of harm's way, and remove his enemy from circulation, Matt struggles with the possibility that his best will not be good enough.

I found the story a little slow to get into, and certainly rather dark, but there's action, struggle, and suspense, and both the story's development and denoument are believable. If you like gritty noir and you haven't read any of the Scudder books, you're in for a treat. On the other hand, if you want a lighter touch, avoid Block's Scudder series and go straight to the comedic Burglar series instead.

(In unrelated news, the house concert was quite a bit of fun, and the general noise level was such that we could be heard, but our missed notes overlooked. Also, our hostess and third member of the trio built and played a Carronet: she took a power drill to a carrot to create a center bore and finger holes, attached a clarinet mouthpiece to it, and used it to play a basic blues number. Highly entertaining, and mostly in tune as well.)

What I'm (not) Reading Now: 13 January 25

Not reading a thing except occasionally some music. We're joining a co-worker to play some recorder trios at a house concert. She plays easily as well as I do, and certainly reads music better than I do... and yet, as far as I know, she's played recorder half a dozen times before. Ah, to have studied music with a major in woodwinds...

Anyway, we're playing a Tom Horn piece called Dancing Butterflies, an arrangement of a Robert Jones song called Farewell, dear Love, and our own version of In Thee is Gladness. Once we know the notes, we'll start having some real fun. And we'd better learn the notes soon, as the concert is a week from tomorrow.

What I'm (not) Reading Now: 12 December 31

May as well be up-front about it: I'm not reading. I hang out on the internet, I watch TV, and I knit. It's the knitting that's taking up the most time, since I have a big project and a deadline I'm determined to meet or beat at almost any cost. Besides, we have guests for a while, and it would be rude...

I will continue updating, but don't expect to see many books for the next couple of months.