Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Reading Gluttony

It's mid-semester break, and I admit to several sneaky visits to bookstores and BigW to stock up on holiday reading. The pile grew and I did wonder guiltily if I'd overdone it, then Friday arrived and I grabbed the "most wanted" first - Exit Music by Ian Rankin. Maybe I was suffering from immersal-reading deprivation (also known as "sinking totally into a book and forgetting the real world exists" deprivation) but I thought this was one of the best Rebus books I'd read in a while. It did occur to me that there weren't that many murders, and the story was more strongly character-based so maybe that was why I enjoyed it so much. Not that I'm averse to blood and guts...

It's Rebus's last week on the force, with retirement looming and no idea of how he might fill the years ahead, so he makes plenty of trouble for himself and others in his remaining days. My friend G and I talked about how some characters in crime novels (especially series) don't undergo great change, at least not in the character arc/growth/revelation kind of way. What we enjoy is recognising when they're being themselves in spite of opportunities to change! Who wants Rebus to undergo character rehabilitation at the end? Not me.

The next book I picked up was Lost It, a YA novel by Kristen Tracy. This was a book that I picked up in the US and hadn't got around to reading for a while, so I think I bought it because it seemed to offer a humorous view of a girl losing her virginity. It doesn't really. It does that thing where the big moment (losing it) happens near the beginning of the book, and I think any story that does this has to work really well in other ways to create tension and anticipation in the reader. This didn't quite do it for me, and a lot of the humour fell flat because I think the main character is meant to be naive and also confused about her crazy parents, but often she comes across as just plain stupid. As I loathe Kath and Kim for that very thing (concentrated, incessant stupidity), I guess it was never going to be my kind of book. (Sorry, all you K&K fans, but I'm a Cheers kind of girl!)

So now I've launched into Mark Billingham's new book, and I noticed yesterday that Val McDermid has a new one out... The holidays just won't be long enough.

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