First read: 1998
Owned since: 1998
No particular springtime resonance to this book -- except that Bruce always makes me feel hopeful, and I woke up this morning to the news that Danny Federici, the E Street Band's organist and accordionist, had died at the age of 58. This book was a Christmas gift from my friend and then-housemate, Megan, who shares my admiration for Bruce and his works.
Bruce (I don't know him, but I call him Bruce -- we all call him Bruce) was in the news this week himself, for his endorsement of Barack Obama. It's hardly surprising to anyone who's a serious admirer of either man. Both have built careers on visions of what America can and should be, while understanding how hard it sometimes is to be who we are.
One of the reasons I was so glad to get this book was to have the definitive lyrics to The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle, which didn't originally come with printed lyrics -- and which, not coincidentally for today's post, features Danny Federici prominently, especially on accordion.
And you know that tilt-a-whirl down on the south beach drag
I got on it last night and my shirt got caught
And they kept me spinnin'
I didn't think I'd ever get off...
What I Read This Week
Meg Gardiner, THE DIRTY SECRETS CLUB. Publishers are so eager to get a buzz going on this book that the advance readers' copy is an uncopyedited manuscript -- which makes me reluctant to say anything about the book, since I don't know how much it will change. It's the first in a planned new series featuring Jo Beckett, a forensic psychiatrist, and that's a great premise. Beckett, a medical doctor, specializes in the "psychiatric autopsy," determining whether deaths are suicide, accidents, or something else. When a high-profile prosecutor becomes the latest in a series of celebrity murder-suicides, Beckett realizes something more sinister is going on. She unravels a plot that gets too complicated for its own good, and includes at least one element that's either insufficiently explained or just beyond belief. Maybe they'll fix that before the book comes out in July.
Phil Rickman, THE FABRIC OF SIN. Anglican priest Merrily Watkins is the Deliverance Consultant -- aka exorcist -- for the Diocese of Hereford, on the Welsh border. The restoration of an ancient manor house stops because one of the workers refuses to go back inside, and the Bishop sends Merrily to find out what's going on. What she finds is evil that goes back decades, possibly centuries, and may or may not be supernatural. I love this series; Rickman is fascinated with connections, and the books always teach me things. This one covers, among other topics, the Knights Templar, the stories of M.R. James, and the Prince of Wales's role as landlord and conservationist.
Ross Macdonald, THE CHILL. I reread this book because it's the inaugural selection for the book club on John Connolly's discussion forum. I'm glad for the excuse, because it's a book that demands to be read more than once; the twist at the end is so shocking that you need to read the book again to see how everything that happens is rooted in this one terrible secret. Lew Archer agrees to help a young husband find his wife, who ran away on her honeymoon. What he finds is a family history of murder and lies, with roots in crimes that go back 30 years.