Monday, November 08, 2010

It was a weekend of trying to get stuff done while coping with migraines and the sadness that usually settles in from the bureaucratic shortening of the days. Put away a manifesto of sorts* and cast-off in frustration some gratuitously French academic writing** that annoyed the hell out of me in both the source and my native tongue.

Still, needed a bit of something to settle down with at bedtime, so started rooting around the horribly disorganized bookshelves that recently went up in my room. The something ended up being nothing I'd normally choose: a mystery.

Found these at the Acton Library sale a few weeks ago. Since it was the last few hours of the sale, they were selling brown bags at a fixed price. Took them more for the cover art than anything else.

My mom and dad were big mystery readers and remember these stories around the house when I was a little kid. Since I could read at a very young age - two? three? I remember specifically picking up the books (Book of the Month Club editions, so hardbound with gold lettering) thinking that they were about a rabbit and just not understanding anything about what was going on between the covers. When I mentioned not understanding the Rabbit story, my mother got the biggest kick out of it; told me that it was a Rabbi, or Jewish Priest and not a rabbit. So much for that.

More recently, found an omnibus edition of the Rabbi Small works translated in French for the Frenchie. He, another big mystery fan, found them entertaining. (Never got around to looking at them because I was reading something depressing either by Henning Mankell or Didier Daeninckx. Both are good writers; not always good choices, though, if you are looking to go to bed in a good mood and not have nightmares.)

Anyway, finished the first story in two nights (probably would have pulled an all-nighter if I didn't have so much running around and headache fighting to do the next day). Enjoyed the novel means of problem-solving, the development of (glad to see) recurring characters, the slice-of-life (it takes place very near to home before I was born - so the issues of how the different communities in this little North Shore town are also very interesting.) aspect. Best of all, though the author (subtly) gave me a few clues, he did some good baffling as well; didn't know who done it until the last page. Bravo!

I don't read a lot of stuff like this, so am really glad to have hit upon something that was such a joy to read. Am looking forward to the next adventure which starts with the the Rabbi's wife trying to get him fed before the big fasting for Atonement Time.


* This is her first longer work for general consumption, I think. Though I generally enjoy her writing, found this to be a bit too repetitive and trying to persuade. Still, there was a lot of good in it - most notably in its nod to the discipline of complexity (something I'm starting to take an interest in). I love also how positive she is. In fact, that's the reason why I picked the book up. Needed something a bit uplifting.

**There's a reason why I did Literature; feel that the form is about as important as the content. Generally this filters out anyone with a Paris-[pick a with a Social-Sciences division Roman numeral] after their name. A friend suggested it to me more to see after how long I'd take to stop reading than anything else, I think.

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