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Sunday, December 16, 2007

Reading Update

As we approach the end of 2007, I thought a final update on how my New Years resolution to read more has gone. The short answer is, not so bad. I'm a few books off a book a week pace--no more than three, although I haven't kept the best records. But as I've observed here before, I've really been reading a book a week, not always serious literature--let me assure you of that.

I've really become a fan of the Harry Bosch novels of Michael Connelly. I've read several: The Black Echo, Concrete Blonde, The Last Coyote, Trunk Music, Angels Flight, City of Bones, Lost Light, The Closers, and Echo Park. (I can't believe that I've read nine of them.) That's in roughly the order of the series, I think (w/o checking). If you like noir-ish hard-boiled detective fiction, then you'd like these.

If you want a Connelly recommendation, read a few of the "basic texts"--Black Echo is the first, and Concrete Blonde is heavy on backstory--and then dive into the best ones, which are Last Coyote and Lost Light, so far, in my opinion. I think you need to know Bosch the character before reading the ones about him as opposed to solving the mystery. Lost Light may be the perfect noir novel. Every fact in the story, every "clue," is connected to the underlying mystery by the end. And it has a post-9/11 plot angle, too.

I've also read some contemporary fiction (The Ministry of Special Cases, Middlesex), some current affairs stuff, Moneyball (finally!), some other detective fiction (including quite a bit of Pelecanos, although some of his later stuff gets a little repetitive), some horror (Pet Sematary is the scariest Stephen King, no? and I Am Legend). If I had better notes, I would be better able to report on this.

Speaking of Connelly, though, I should add that I finally saw the one film adaptation of his work, Blood Work, starring and directed by Clint Eastwood. Earlier Eastwood posts here, here, here, and here. (Those posts date back to when I actually took this blogging thing seriously and wrote actual reviews of stuff. Hmm.) As those posts attest, I am a pretty big Eastwood fan, and I think he's a better director than actor. (Actually, I think he's a great actor when he directs himself--and he may be the one human being of whom that's true.) But here's a film that blends a plot by one of my current favorite authors, starring and directed by one of my film faves . . . and I really liked it. Didn't love it, but really liked it. A solid outing, no doubt. Btw, haven't read the book Blood Work, although it's clearly a Connelly book. The plot is really complex, but the underlying mystery turns out not to be that mysterious, once the truth is revealed.


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