Wednesday, May 10, 2006

what I'm reading

What I WAS reading was the new adult novel by Lemony Snicket, under his real name ("Adverbs" by Daniel Handler) but I am here to tell you: it sucks. Don't buy it. A rip-off. It's not really a novel; it's a bunch of short stories strung together, but they don't mesh together well. The clash between these "chapters" in a "novel" was so bad, I threw the book down in disgust and turned to "The Perfect Husband" by Lisa Gardner, a trashy serial killer novel which is one thousand times more engrossing and better crafted. (This led to one of those classic moments around my house, where I caught my daughter reading "The Perfect Husband" and I shouted, "Put that down! That is a grown-up book about serial killers! That is not for kindergarteners!").

Almost no one can do the I-wrote-a-bunch-of-short-stories-but-I-wanna-call-them-a-novel,-
not-a-collection-of-short-stories thing. The chick who wrote "A Girl's Guide To Hunting and Fishing", Melissa Banks, is the only person I think can pull that off without causing the reader to feel jerked around. For God's sake, just call it a fucking short stories collection and face up to the fact that your sales will be reduced, but don't call it a fucking novel if it doesn't have an overarching plot and structure.

What I read recently, with delight, was a pair of antique paperbacks by Richard Stark featuring the inimitable Parker. I'm hunting these old pulps down wherever I can find them (what bad luck to enter Kayo Books RIGHT AFTER another collector bought out all the Starks, and they never got any in since then).

Next up: a novel by Magnus Mills, who wrote perhaps the best book ever written about constructing electric fences, "The Restraint of Beasts."

No comments: