I love to read, and I read lots of books. But I am generally not a reader of fancy literature. I have made my way through plenty of big long books*, but I confess that I LOVE the kind of books you can buy at the airport. Bring on the embossed covers – I’m all over them.
And the best of these paperback writers (thank you, Beatles), by a mile, is Lee Child. His books about the loner/drifter Jack Reacher are impossible to put down, and are extremely well-written. Each book generally has a scene or two in which Jack thoroughly kicks the ass of someone who REALLY deserves it. Good always triumphs over evil, but the price is always paid. Do not start one of these books at night before bed, especially if you have an early wake-up time.
While in Italy two weeks ago, I started reading “A Room with a View.” I remember Denholm Elliot, in the movie, saying, “I have a room with a view. Why don’t you take my room?” in his scratchy basso delivery. What I didn’t remember was that this was considered shockingly inappropriate behavior, and all the action of the rest of the book (the quote is delivered right there on page uno) results from his appalling suggestion. What is up with these Brits (actually, what WAS up with these Brits – I assume this kind of thing is a thing of the past)? Am I supposed to be engaged in a story about the terrible manners of an upwardly-mobile Englishman who pokes his nose into the snobbosphere?
Although I slogged through War and Peace, there were moments (that stretched several hundred pages) where I just didn’t give a damn. I was trying to get to page 1261, so I could leave that brick on the shelf.
One more thing about Lee Child: he answered my fan mail (first fan mail (and last) I’ve ever written). What a mensch!
*First of all, I am stealing the concept of the blogsterisk from my cousin Amy, from whom I will steal many more ideas before long – thank you, cous. Secondly, and this does belong in a footnote: my brother bought me a hardcover copy of Anna Karenina when the new translation came out (yes, I read it, and yes, I liked it). He then bought himself the paperback when it was released. He noticed that the covers were virtually identical, except that, for the paperback edition, the fingernails on the pictured woman had been trimmed. Does either of my readers know enough about marketing to explain that?