Saturday party

I’ve had a couple of hours to myself this afternoon as it is Cathy’s "murder mystery" party. Seven 14/15 year olds and Jenny seem to be having a good time (from the noises downstairs; I am lurking upstairs with my laptop, the Times, usual piles of books and su dokus –pllus a huge mound of work which I am trying to ignore).

The Times book review section was disappointing today: the features closest to my own interests were an article by Alain de Botton on whether writers should revise their work; and a long interview with Scott Turow. I found A de B convoluted as usual (I started out on his book about the spoof submission to the social science journal, which is a great story, but the book did not bring it to life to put it mildly). I was surprised to read his surprise that his revised version of his book was shorter than his original, as surely the revision process would tend to make a piece shorter not longer? But I suppose my perspective is one who has spent about half my life focusing and shortening articles so I’m probably not the best reader of an essay on this subject.

Turow has written a new book, about the second world war. I scanned the long interview but as it only mentioned "Presumed Innocent" briefly and was mostly about other things, I did not read it properly. I would be interested in an article that asked "What happened?" to Turow, as I thought Presumed Innocent was a great read, but he went downhill from there. The sequel was OK but the third book of his that I read I found overblown. I haven’t read any more.

There was a review of Stephen King’s latest, "Cell", which sounds worth a read from the buzz in the trade magazines over the past few months. (I always think of biology when I read the word Cell, but this book is about deadly mobile phones, not deadly biological agents.) I used to read King’s books when I was a lot, lot younger. I loved "The Stand" and "Salem’s Lot", and liked a few of his others, including some of his "long short stories" ("Shawshank Redemption" of course), but I stopped reading him ages ago. I have been mildly interested in reading the series of books he’s been writing in 10 (?) parts but am waiting for them all to be published together in one cheap volume, hasn’t happened yet.

A few other nuggets, including a book club discussion on "The Time Machine" (must see if I can get Cathy to read that book) and a note on Val McDermid’s latest. Hard to believe it is only just being published in h/b as I’ve had it on my Amazon list for what seems like an age. There is an absolutely poisonous little short on Anita Brookner’s latest.