Enjoying Persuasion

Having been too busy to read or write blogs much this week, this link: Random Jottings of a Book and Opera Lover: Persuasion instantly reminds me (as if I needed to be reminded) of why the medium is so powerful for me.  I love Jane Austen, having read her books more times than I can remember. It would be unusual to find a review of a Jane Austen book in any other course of life — reading the newspaper or whatever, yet half an hour into reading my rss subscriptions, here is a review of this, one of my favourite books. Why is the book reviewed? Not because it has just been published, or a new edition has come out, or the author has been accused of plagiarism, or has been paid a vast sum of money to go and live in Los Angeles. No, just because the reviewer, Elaine, has re-read the book, loves it, and wanted to write about it.

I was going to continue along the lines of blogging being a little island of civilisation in my life, but I’m being called away, so I will end here.

Crime fiction round-up

Here are some links to reviews of some recent crime-fiction books.

Dick Adler at Paperback Mysteries reports that Peter Abrahams has a new novel out, Nerve Damage, and that his last, End of Story, is now out in paperback (in the USA).  "Here’s the deal: I’m going to keep on raving about Abrahams until he 1.) writes a bad book; or 2.) gets to be a regular on the best-seller lists where he deserves to be. If thriller-writing was a disease, Abrahams would be its poster boy, and End of Story is a beautifully crafted and astonishingly exciting story."

A Long Shadow by Charles Todd, reviewed by Kimbofo at Reading Matters.  "A Long Shadow is one of those good old-fashioned murder mysteries that keeps you guessing pretty much all the way through it. Things only begin to fall into place when you’re about 50 pages from the end."

P. D. James’ Children of Men was written a good while ago, but has recently been filmed. The film is just out on DVD in the UK, so here is a timely review of the book by "Otter" on Metaxucafe.  "Unputdownable. Mesmerizing. Intriguing. Hopeful. It is these words that best describe the work that is P.D. James’s The Children of Men. Stepping out of genre (she is a mystery writer) but not out of skill, James has crafted a novel that is a Christian apologetic, a science fiction thriller, and a humanist manifesto."

Lars Walker is a fan of Andrew Klavan, so it isn’t surprising that he rushed to read Damnation Street, Klavan’s latest. "I loved this book. I can’t praise it highly enough. As I read it I couldn’t avoid the feeling that I was reading a novel that could be a turning point in the history of the detective story, just as the works of Conan Doyle, Dorothy Sayers and Raymond Chandler were. ….In my view, Klavan has taken the detective story to a whole new level of character depiction and spiritual exploration."

Over at Mystery File, there is a rather nested review of Deanna Rayburn’s Silent in the Grave, a historical mystery. "Silent in the Grave begins a trilogy starring Lady Julia Grey, an unwitting and unlikely amateur detective. Her adventure begins in 1866. Her inattentive husband, Sir Edward Grey, has just collapsed and died during a dinner party at his London townhouse. The family doctor blames Edward’s longstanding heart condition, and Julia believes him, despite suggestions by Edward’s private inquiry agent, Nicholas Brisbane, that it was murder."

The best book I read this year, said Damon Garr on 30 December in a Metaxucafe post, was Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell. Others agree, from what I’ve read, so it has been in my Amazon basket for a while, waiting for the UK paperback. Damon says: "Woodrell’s prose does everything I require from the lyrical, poetic descriptions to the detail-oriented background information without ever getting tripped up. The book does not even stumble."

If none of these appeals, here is a post at The Millions on the most anticipated books of 2007. There are a lot of them.