Tuesday, May 26, 2009

from my montreal hotel room-- a little light reading

Travelling now, which will mostly mean reading mysteries -- we try to pack lightly, so I bring along books we'll both enjoy but won't mind leaving behind. I did think I might have packed my secondhand copy of David Copperfield but it was far too heavy. Might pick up an inexpensive copy in London.

Meanwhile, I'm reading Jeffrey Deaver's latest, The Broken Window, and finding it sufficiently diverting to get me through plane and train rides. Its focus on data mining, though, has me a bit anxious as I cross the country, and soon the Atlantic, dropping bits of digital information here, there, and everywhere. As with his other mysteries, I'm enjoying the results of the background research and I also quite like the characters -- this one gives more glimpses into Lincoln Rhyme's past, and also lets young cop Ron Pulaski develop. As well, there's some engaging goings-on between Amelia Sachs and her young charge/mentee -- one especially satisfying moment which suggests how much teen girls can benefit from a strong female role model.

Before I left home, I finished Carol Windley's Breathing Under Water. I enjoyed its gentle, thoughtful description of life in a small town on Vancouver Island in the 50s from a woman's perspective, but I have to admit that I can't help but feel not only that this territory has been covered, but even that it has limited relevance. I feel guilty even suggesting that, quite frankly, yet I found myelf being the tiniest bit impatient, and I can't imagine teaching the novel and having the students relate. Yes, there's much in it that I can relate to, and/or that illuminates some of what my mother might have experienced/felt, but the recently-deceased Marilyn French covered this terrain so well in The Women's Room that it's difficult to say much new about it, especially as late as 1998, when Windley's novel was published. It does capture that hermetic quality of small towns, though, and something about the mother-daughter relationship -- the estrangements and similarities and desires, all confused.


  1. I haven't read any Jeffrey Deaver - do you recommend him? Although I'm not travelling, I seem to be in a 'light reading' mindset at the moment ...

  2. I'd definitely recommend the Deaver books unless you're turned off by forensic detail -- they can be gruesome!