Saturday, June 4, 2011

More E-reading Mystery

This is just silly! I'm falling so far behind, and every time I get pulled into a new book, get caught up in the reading of it, the gap grows wider.

So a bit of catch-up. It's probably almost a month since I read Kate Atkinson's One Good Turn, a mystery in her Jackson Brodie series. Delighted to realize that there was a Jackson Brodie book I hadn't read, I'd downloaded it onto my Kobo before we headed to Paris. I "saved" it during the trip, thinking I'd read it on the plane home, but then saved it a bit longer -- do you ever play such games with your reading self?

Atkinson's mysteries have a different, more thoughtful, more ambling pace than is common to the genre, and One Good Turn might be even more that way than the others. It portrays Brodie actually in a relationship -- with a melodramatic, somewhat elusive actress -- rather than in the other books of the series, which generally show him looking back at his relationships wondering where they went wrong. Atkinson gets inside heads, and she picks interesting heads to speak from -- at least, they don't seem interesting from the outside, but she shows us what's motivating the most ordinary-appearing, the mild-mannered (a lovely portrayal of a mystery writer who prefers to live in an earlier time, imaginatively).

Reading a mystery on an e-reader emphasizes a problem with the devices: if you like to know how close you are to the end of a book -- you know, so that you can either race to finish before turning off the light, or so that you can stretch out those last three chapters luxuriously or save them for your afternoon cuppa, you're out of luck. Yes, it can tell you that you've read 67%, but I'm not finding that to be quite the same as eyeing and feeling the diminishing number of pages on my right and comparing them to the increasing stack on my left. . .


  1. I really enjoyed One Good Turn. But I agree about the percentage thing on the e-reader - it's just not the same as physically knowing how many pages you have to go.

  2. I wonder if they'll ever get it right -- or if we'll just adjust and lose the nostalgia . . .

  3. I agree about the percentage thing but I am getting more used to it.

  4. Mardel: I think we have to, right?