Friday, March 02, 2007

They keep calling me

A visit to the library is a trip to Trader Joe's. You have one thing you really need (ok, you really want) and you leave with five more. At least with the library the only cost is an opportunity cost. Given that I would be grievously wounded, if not crippled, if all my unread but owned books fell on me, one could argue that I should just read the books I have. I reject that sunk cost argumentation.

The Devil of Nanking - Mo Hayder. Hayder's reputation is for hyper-violence, but I hear she toned that down and upped her writing game on this one. I'm also a fan of the region, so I am all the more interested.

States of Mind - Jonathan Yardley. One nice thing about libraries, is that find lesser known volumes like this one. Yardley grew up in Virginia as a transplanted New Yorker and the book is his adult exploration of the middle Atlantic. Given Yardley's erudition and my historical, personal and familial ties to Virginia (home state) , NC and DC, this one looks like a winner.

The Wrong War - Jeffery Record. Record is an admirably analytical and non-ideological writer. He recently co-wrote a study on Iraq vs. Vietnam arguing they are very different. I imagine most of the argumentation will be familiar, but I think it is useful to revisit Vietnam to understand elements of the Iraq failure.

Embers - Sandor Marai. I'd like to say I randomly select slim volumes from Central European novelists, but really my uncle just recommended it to me.

1 comment:

Steve said...

"Devil" is really good. I don't usually go for the serial killer stuff but that one is terrific. Her use of the Rape of Nanking as a backdrop gave it a good bit of depth beyond the story (which is good in and of itself). Especially nice to see since the Japanese prime minister will no doubt issue a denial of the Rape any day now.

One other comment. Hayder does a good job telling you just enough to keep the story clear but not enough to prevent you from filling in some of the horrible details yourself. That, in my opinion, is one of the keys to writing good suspense / horror/ mystery fiction.