What I’ve Been Reading

I haven’t been reading as much as I would like lately because I’ve been too busy writing, but I have managed to squeeze in a few books…

044914836x01_sclzzzzzzz_I devoured Ed Gorman’s WOLF MOON in one sitting. I really enjoyed it. The book came out a few years ago and it’s unlike any western I’ve read before.  Think of it as western noir, with an emphasis on noir, though you wouldn’t know that from the standard "western" cover and "frontier" font.  Sure, it takes place in the west and has all the expected genre trappings…but it’s the kind of tale Charles Williams, Harry Whittington, Dan J. Marlowe, Wade Miller, Vin Packer and Charles Willeford like to tell. Dark and violent. Grim and doomed. It’s about a bank robber who gets double-crossed, goes to prison, and seeks revenge. Sounds pretty standard but trust me, it isn’t. The hero of this book is an original…a guy who is literally rabid with revenge. I can’t help but wonder how the book
would have fared, and the attention it might have garnered, if it was marketed as a weird twist on a dark crime tale instead of western.

I also read Meg Wolitzer’s THE POSITION, about a couple of sex educators and the impact their JOY OF SEX-esque book has on their children.  The book was well-written, clever, funny and insightful and yet, as a whole, unsatisfying and disappointing. I kept waiting for the story to start and it never did. I kept waiting to get involved and I never did. It’s basically a series of loosely connected vignettes without any real narrative drive. 

Which brings me to Susanna Clarke’s JONATHAN STRANGE & MR. NORRELL. I’m mid-way through it (pg 390) and so far I am loving it. I find myself so involved in the book that  I tote that damn thing with me everywhere (which is no small feat…the book is nearly 800 pages and I have a bum arm) and find any excuse at all to read. I’m sure a thousand folks have said this before me, but I’ll say it again… the book is basically HARRY POTTER for grown-ups. I hope the next 390 pages are as satisfying as the first!

2 thoughts on “What I’ve Been Reading”

  1. I read WOLF MOON when it first appeared, and I think it’s one of the great noir westerns. And the fact that it was published by Gold Medal is entirely appropriate. It’s right up there with the great GM books of the ’50s.

  2. I am glad to finally see someone reading Clarke’s book and really liking it… even if it is apparently a warm-up act to the books to follow. (Which hopefully won’t be nearly as heavy.)
    I greatly enjoyed it and think if it doesn’t take at least one major science fiction award, she was robbed.


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