Friday, May 21, 2004

It has been a very Good week. Incredibly bright and blue and hot. Yesterday, I took myself down to the park and sat. I sat on a bench until the shadows spread over the light, and then I went home. I had a book with me - I almost always have a book with me - but I didn't read it.

It's been good not only for the long spell of brilliant heat, but for myriad other reasons. In terms of me and reading, anyway. A few days ago, I recieved an advanced copy of Jeffery Deaver's Garden of Beasts and read it without hesitation, finding myself impressed enough, even though it's possibly not his greatest work. Today, in remarkable confluence with myself walking sleepy-eyed down the stairs, an arc of Ruth Rendell's 13 Steps Down also flopped through the door in front of me. In recent days, I have also discovered the pleasures of Ed McBain and James Lee Burke, and yesterday read what is probably the best author interview I've come across in quite some while, with Michael Connelly at The Independent. I don't know about you, but I found it strangely poigniant. For some reason, I loved this first bit a great deal:

His Hieronymus (Harry) Bosch novels have sold seven million copies and brought him a vast presidential pile in Florida, a big boat and wildly expensive teeth.

Yesterday I also [FINALLY!] picked up a copy of Boston Teran's The Prince of Deadly Weapons, which has been available in the US for almost two years, but only made it to our shores, officially, today. The immense arrears might have something to do with the fact that it didn't fare too well in America (I'm not sure on this, but I don't even think it's been released in paperback). I am hopeful, though. And whatever I end up thinking of it, I'm pretty sure that my belief will not be shaken that there is not, and has never been, another author with a prose style quite as eccentric as Teran's. Sometimes, true, it seems as if he's trying too hard, but sometimes it smacks of dark, twisted poetry; an abstract dance of metaphor that strains against the conventions of English and desperately wants to break free. Sometimes, I find it damn hard to read, but it seems liberating and so far I have loved it. Anyway, I expect I'll like this one. Even if I don't, I'll tell myself I did.

Richard and Judy's summer reading list has been unveiled. For those who can't be bothered to read the article, here's the selection:

A Gathering Light by Jennifer Donnelly (Bloomsbury)
Want To Play? by PJ Tracy (Penguin)
PS, I Love You by Cecelia Ahern (HarperCollins)
Liars and Saints by Maile Meloy (John Murray/Hodder & Stoughton)
The Mermaid and the Drunks by Ben Richards (Phoenix/Orion)
Hunting Unicorns by Bella Pollen (Pan Macmillan)

I'm rather ambivalent to it, actually. There's nothing on it that particularly excites me. Apart from P.J. Tracy's Want to Play? (aka Monkeewrench, winner of the Gumshoe for Best Debut). With any luck, it's inclusion will finally spur me on to reading it. For all the books featured, huge leaps in sales are now, of course, guaranteed.

The latest edition of The Spectator carries a review of Secret Smile by Nicci French.

And here's an interview with Jess Walter from a month or so back. My excuse for putting it up is that I've only just discovered it. The interview itself seems rather perfunctory to me.

I read Walter's fiction debut, Over Tumbled Graves a while ago, and it didn't eaxctly blow me away. I read it for the title, more than anything. It can't have been spectacular, as I can't remember a lot about it. Well, apart from that I learnt how to pronounce "Spokane" properly. Due to my "give authors a second chance" policy, I've got his second book all lined up to try.

Lastly... and this might just be me showing my ignornace, but does it come as a complete shock to anyone else to discover that Martina Navratilova is also an author (well, co-author) of thrillers?