Bookish Matters

The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.

—Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Gingerbread Cookie Murder—Review

I've tried the Christmas-themed books I mentioned in a previous post. The first, The Christmas Cookie Club by Ann Pearlman, I only read the first 44 pages (large print). I just wasn't that interested in it. It made me wonder about the difference between good chicklit and bad chicklit. The Christmas Cookie Club had many of the same elements of the books I enjoy, and yet it fell flat. It seemed to lack a necessary spark. So I stopped reading it.

The second book I read is Gingerbread Cookie Murder. It's a set of three novellas by mystery authors. I did enjoy this volume. It was fun to have something to read over Christmas, of course, and I also liked that it kind of gave an introduction to mystery authors. If you're in the market for a new mystery series to read, you can pick up this set of novellas and get a taste of various authors.

My favorite novella in the set was "The Dangers of Gingerbread Cookies" by Leslie Meier. It was fun and had all the twists and turns I expect in a murder mystery.

"Gingerbread Cookies and Gunshots" by Leslie Meier was OK, but it was kind of a downer. My primary goal in reading genre is fun and entertainment; if I'm going to read something depressing I'll read something that tempers the depressing bits with insight or beautiful language.

The novella the compilation is named after is by Joanne Fluke. I recognize this author from work*, and it's her name that's written in giant letters on the cover of the book, and yet I found plenty of flaws in her novella. It's odd, her novella was my second favorite in the trilogy as far as pure entertainment value, and yet I keep finding all these flaws in the writing that irk me. Just for the fun of ranting, I'm now going to list those flaws. If you're interested in reading Joanne Fluke, I would suggested skipping the rest of this post so that you don't start one of her books with my biases floating around your noggin.

The Flaws

1) There are lines in "Gingerbread Cookie Murder" that make the characters seem dumb, and also make it seem the author thinks the reader a bit daft as well. These especially occur in dialogue.

2) The protagonist and the detectives never once contemplate that the murder may have been manslaughter, and due to the facts they worked with for most of the story, the chance that the murderer hit the murderee in a fit of rage rather than with the intention to kill is a possibility they should have at least mentioned.

3) The beginning has a fair amount of back story that should go by faster and I'm not sure is entirely necessary.

4) The love interest is a dentist named Norman who has a cat he calls Cuddles. What the hell? Are we supposed to believe Norman is a sexy interesting romantic character? A man who names his cat Cuddles? Really? Norman? Reaalllly?

Despite my list of flaws, this compilation of Christmas novellas is worth taking a look at. Blogger out.

*I work at a bookstore.

Friday, December 23, 2011

"There are moments, Jeeves, when one asks oneself, 'Do trousers matter?' "

"The mood will pass, sir."

—P.G. Wodehouse, from The Code of the Woosters

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Classic Doctor Who

Occasionally I try to watch old Doctor Who, like sixties William Hartnell Doctor Who. I've yet to finish a story line. (They tended to be in twenty-minute episodes, multiple episodes adding up to a single story line.) They're...slow. And, well, very not-profound. Basically they're not made to a modern sensibility.

But I want to watch classic Doctor Who, especially when the current season has ended, to keep me busy until the next season. Buff up on my history. But how do I know which ones are worth watching?

I have discovered what sounds like sage advice! Here it is. I'm going to take the seasons and episodes this fellow recommends and watch them in chronological order. Maybe dipping into other seasons just to get a feel for what all the other doctors are like. I would also recommend watching the very first twenty-minute episode of Doctor Who, "An Unearthly Child," maybe the second episode, too, just for seeing how it all began.

Here are the episodes I'll probably look for first:

The Dalek Invasion of Earth/World's End (1964)
The Tenth Planet (1966) (some episodes missing, but I'm curious about the first regeneration)
The Tomb of the Cybermen (1967)
Doctor Who and the Silurians (1970)
Inferno (1970)
Robot (1974-1975)
The Ark in Space (1975)
The Sontaran Experiment (1975)

Christmas Genre

I've almost got my library card number at the public library here in Moscow memorized. I'm about to finish a book (The Code of the Woosters—so good) so I'm seeing if I can get any Christmas-themed genre novels to arrive before the Christmas season is over. One mystery, one romance, one chicklit. Here's hoping they come in soon. I'll let you know if they're any good.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Imagine how some unfortunate master criminal would feel, on coming down to do a murder at the old Grange, if he found that not only was Sherlock Holmes putting in the week there, but Hercule Poirot, as well.

—P.G. Wodehouse, from The Code of the Woosters

Monday, December 19, 2011

Who are you, Jujubes and Aspirins?

It's time to rethink this blog. You may have noticed I didn't post for a couple months. I was writing posts in my head, but always felt too busy to actually sit down and type them up. Plus, I wasn't sure what I was really achieving with this blog. Who's my intended audience? My friends, Katie, Rhiannon? Anyone who likes books? Do I have this blog so that if some future employer in publishing asks if I have a blog, I have something clever and literate to show them?

I don't know. But I'm not ready to let Jujubes and Aspirins completely die out. It is time to re-envision. Sort of like Rhiannon did. What do you think?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Love is more pleasant than marriage for the same reason that novels are more amusing than history.
—Nicolas Chamfort

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Do you think that revolutions are made with rose water?
—Nicolas Chamfort