Hey, everybody -- just checking in to post a reading list, and spread the word that Ballantine is offering a free PDF download of Katherine Neville's THE EIGHT between now and August 18 -- just click here for details.
Travel time last week meant extra time for reading, and a bout of insomnia's helped as well.
What I Read These Weeks
P. G. Wodehouse, HOT WATER. Kevin Wignall recommended this non-Jeeves novel, which I'd saved as a reward for finishing some work. Kevin says he can't understand why no one's made a movie of this, and I agree. A chateau off the coast of France is the setting for several elaborate schemes, including the blackmailing of a Senator, a jewel heist, and two disastrous engagements. Wodehouse pokes at everything from Hollywood to literary pretensions, and I laughed out loud.
Louis Bayard, THE BLACK TOWER. Louis Bayard is a beautiful writer, and explores new material in every book. I was - er - thrilled to snag this advance copy at the Thrillerfest banquet. In Restoration France, a medical student becomes involved in a series of murders -- because his father, a physician by the same name, had treated the young Dauphin in the Bastille. The Dauphin died of disease or malnutrition during the Terror -- or did he? A marvelous, moody book that raises as many questions as it answers.
Victor Gischler, GO GO GIRLS OF THE APOCALYPSE. I'd have read this book anyway, but Karen Olson's recommendation booted it to the top of the pile. In the not-so-distant future, the world goes to hell in a handbasket: flu epidemic, terrorist attacks, natural disasters, food riots, and the destruction of Washington, DC send Mortimer Tate into a cave with a decade's worth of supplies. Nine years later, he emerges to find a world where the only semblance of order is a chain of strip clubs -- Joey Armageddon's Sassy-A-Go-Go -- and Mortimer's own ex-wife is one of the main attractions. Mortimer sets out to find his wife, and gets caught up in a post-Apocalyptic showdown in the skyscrapers of Atlanta. It's horrifying, funny, surprisingly poignant, and all too plausible; Gischler is a twisted genius.
Elie Wiesel, NIGHT. I'm not sure how or why I never read this book before, but saw it mentioned recently on a friend's blog, and decided it was time. This memoir of Wiesel's time in the Nazi death camps is a permanent human document. Everyone needs to read it; it's on school reading lists for a reason.
Janet Evanovich, LEAN MEAN THIRTEEN. A little light reading, for a break; Stephanie Plum hunts for her missing ex-husband, a shady lawyer. Cars get destroyed, junk food gets eaten, Stephanie flirts with Ranger but winds up with Joe Morelli. It's reassuring.
Will Peterson, TRISKELLION. The first young-adult novel by Mark Billingham and Peter Cocks, to be the first in a trilogy. Twins Adam and Rachel spend the summer in their mother's home village of Triskellion, which is haunted by a dark secret. The premise is good but the pace is slow, and the big reveal at the end is a little too understated.
Ammon Shea, READING THE OED: One Man, One Year, 21,730 Pages. A short account of Shea's year spent reading the Oxford English Dictionary, with some of the best words he discovered. An absolutely delightful book, and must-reading for any fan of words. I wish it had been twice as long.
Chelsea Cain, SWEETHEART. I read most of this book in one sitting, waiting for a new tire; I had a blowout the other day in Brunswick, and an advance copy of this book was in my trunk. I didn't like Cain's first novel, and this is more of the same. If you liked HEARTSICK, you'll like this one: haunted homicide detective Archie Sheridan battles beautiful serial killer Gretchen Lowell. It's a fast read, and well-done, but left me feeling as if I'd been reading pornography.
Dick Francis, UNDER ORDERS. Francis's first novel in years brings back ex-jockey Sid Halley, who mysteriously hasn't aged at all. It's not his best work, though, and the prose clunks in places. Read the earlier books instead.