Sunday, April 20, 2008
Sunday Salon 4/20/08 - In a Mood for Murder! **dun dun dunnn!**
Good morning, fellow Salon members!
In a turn of weather events from last week, I'm sitting at my computer looking out the window and marveling at the trees and their buds of green, listening to the birds sing and enjoying a fine spring morning. I'm also trying to ward off a cold, but I'm afraid it's getting the better of me.
This week, it seems that I've been in the mood for murder! First off, I read J.F. Englert's A Dog About Town, which proved to be a really fun little book. I discovered the book through LT's Early Reviewer program, which offered the second book in the series this past month. It caught me attention since I have a black lab of my own, named Mame, and I thought what a great idea! A friend of mine says it was like somebody wrote a book just for me. It follows the adventures of Harry and his sentient black lab, Randolph, who has to guide Harry via various means to solving a murder mystery. The book is told from the POV of Randolph, and Englert does a fine job of letting us see the world through Randolph's eyes, as well as giving us some insight into certain doggie behaviors.
After I finished A Dog About Town, I decided to stick with the murder mystery theme, and start Agatha Christie's The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. My grandmother was a huge fan of Agatha Christie, having read every book she had written. After she passed away, most of my grandmother's book went to my aunt and cousin, who split them up amongst the rest of the family. My aunt had realized that she hadn't read many of Christie's books, so started a reading challenge of her own, to read every Christie book, just like my grandmother. Well, when we got together at the end of last year, we were talking about books, and when she told me about her challenge, I realized I had never read any Christie books before, so I picked up The Mysterious Affair at Styles, and loved it! When I went on vacation earlier this year, I picked up Murder on the Orient Express, and loved it even more. So, not long ago I was perusing the 1001 Books You Should Read in Your Lifetime and discovered there was a Christie on that list, so picked up The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. I know that's a long, drawn-out way to getting around to saying that I'm reading The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, but that's how it went.
I'm not that far into it right now. Christie has just started to introduce the main characters of the story, so we haven't had a chance to get into the meat of the story yet. I'll let you know how it progresses.
I finished Ulick O'Connor's Irish Tales and Sagas this past week as well (just not gotten around to reviewing it yet). My mother brought this book back for me from Ireland 20ish years ago, and I pull it down off the shelf every couple of years to read. I was going through, reading just one story at a time to spread it out a little this time. It is a simply-written book that retells some of Ireland's more popular legends and lore. It's aimed more at children, but it is still a good little book if you are into Irish myths and legends.
I am also in the process of reading Jeff Smith's Bone: The One Volume Edition. Bone was an independently published comic book series that Smith both wrote and drew. It told a finite story, unlike most comics these days, and the entire story was told in 55, almost monthly, black and white issues. The One Volume Edition collects all 55 issues and weighs in at 1,332 pages. I'm taking this one slow, too, and only reading one issue's worth per night. So far, I'm 5 issues into the story.
I had read Bone originally, but only piecemeal. I've always wanted to read the entire story from beginning to end, but the individual issues are getting harder to find, so I decided to pick up this collected edition and give that a try. It's a little overwhelming, just due to the size of the book, but I think if I keep reading one issue at a time, it shouldn't be too bad. I had the same problem when I bought The Lord of the Rings as a single-volume edition; I just couldn't read it. Every time I looked at that huge book, my mind just shut off. I took it back to the store, and bought the 3 separate editions, and those I was able to handle.
Bone starts off slow, but eventually the story starts to take on an epic feel, and the story grows and grows as the series progresses. Smith is able to keep a decidedly smart, funny and witty tone throughout, however, which really made Bone a joy to read. I've seen it described as The Lord of the Rings, if LOTR were funnier. I never finished the story originally, so I don't know if that is true, but I do know that Bone is one of those rare occasions where comics can step away from being comics and start to become illustrated literature.
And lastly, I've been listening to Matthew Pearl's The Dante Club in the evenings when I've been able to go for my walks. It is also something of a murder mystery, and I haven't gotten far enough into it to really get the gist of the story yet, but I've enjoyed what I've heard so far.
Next week, I don't know if I'll be able to join in on the Salon. I'm heading to Cincinnati for a convention, and don't think I'll be around a computer. I may be stopping at my aunt's house, so may be able to use her computer. If not, everyone have a great Sunday this week and next, and happy reading!