Lazy Summer

Hi! I thought I should just check in to show you that I’m still among the living—if not yet the reading.

Actually, I’ve not been doing quite so terribly on the reading front of late—I finished two quick books earlier this month, which rate is, I believe, the best I’ve had all year. And this afternoon, overwhelmed by heat and fatigue I even thought that perhaps what I really wanted to do was read. Now unfortunately, I took this impulse and picked up The Architect’s Handbook of Professional Practice (yeah, that’s as exciting as it sounds) rather than something actually fun, but I feel this is a step in the right direction, after what has seemingly been the reading slump to beat all reading slumps. (OK, in fairness 2008 for me was much worse.)

I don’t really have much to say about the two books I read earlier this month—Aunt Dimity Goes West by Nancy Atherton and The Inner Circle by Brad Meltzer. They’re lightweight reads—perfect for summer or for reading slumps, but otherwise unremarkable. I’ve decided that I wish to term books such as these “chocolate books”— very enjoyable, easy to digest, even if ultimately too much of them may not be such a good thing. (I have my doubts that one can ever have too much chocolate. So by correlation, one could never have too much of “chocolate books”…) Mmm…now I want some chocolate!

The Aunt Dimity (one of a dozen or so in the series) is a typical cozy—nothing too scary or sinister, but with a mystery and characters just engaging enough to keep you reading. Actually, I think it may be the characters that keep bringing me back to these. After a few books, you begin to “know” these people, almost as if you were a neighbor in their small town.

As far as the Meltzer goes, a fairly standard political thriller with a mental hospital patient thrown in for good measure. Although I do seem to have a weakness for Meltzer novels, what I liked best about this one were the behind the scenes looks at the National Archives. Perhaps it’s all the times I got to see the hidden corners of buildings at my old job (everything from utilitarian boiler rooms to courthouse sally ports), but I just love getting to see behind the scenes, the hidden areas that most people never see.

So yeah, not really much about the books themselves that I have to say. It would be nice to get back to reading books that have more about them to discuss. It was about this time a year ago that I was in the midst of a Divine Comedy RAL that really whetted my appetite for more substantial fare. Somehow I got sidetracked into other areas though. And I may get sidetracked again! I’ve been watching perhaps too much Masterpiece Mystery this summer, and now I’m thinking it’s time to go back to mysteries. The current series is set in Rome (which gives me the opportunity to Squee!—I’ve been there!—although last night it was actually—I fell down the stairs there! Long story.), and added to the my weakness for books set in Italy (it’s always a bonus to read a book where you can envision the setting because you’ve seen it first hand) I’m thinking I’d like to maybe read a series set there. Alas, no library in the system has any of the Aurelio Zen books (which the series is based on), so I’ll have to decide between ordering either a Donna Leon or an Andrea Camilleri. Either is available locally (aka quickly), but the latter gets bonus points for being by an actual Italian author, and since the only Italian authors I’ve read have been dead ±700 years, perhaps I should go this direction. Have you read any of these series? Thoughts, preferences? In the meantime, I believe I have a Sherlock Holmes that should be just right.

2 thoughts on “Musings”

  1. The only ones I’ve read are the Donna Leon series (I think I’ve read first 3, maybe 4). I really enjoy it, and I’m picky about mystery series! I figure since she’s lived in Venice for thirty years and speaks Italian, she has some credibility. 😉 Still, now I’m off to look into Andrea Camilleri! I think the only contemporary Italian fiction authors I’ve read are Alessandro Barrico and Niccolo Ammaniti.

    1. I knew you’d read some of the Leon, and if you are picky about mysteries but like them, I take that as a good recommendation! Actually, I’m leaning that way because I’ve actually been to Venice, while I haven’t been to Sicily. (Camilleri is Sicilian.) I don’t know much about the Camilleri mysteries myself, but I’ve heard good things about them.

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