Friday, March 17, 2006

Road to Enlightenment

I don't know when it started, but I've branched out a lot in my reading. Maybe this is my way of making up for all those years of reading mainly textbooks and journals. I used to be much more of a fantasy fan.

It seems to have been with the whole Da Vinci Code craze, and not having a lot of English language material available when I was teaching in Japan. Usually, I tend to resist reading those books that "everyone's reading," but beggars can't be choosers. I really enjoyed it; not having been much of a mystery/thriller reader, it wasn't all old-hat to me. It was fun enough not to require too much brainpower, but intelligent enough not to put me to sleep. Then I went on the read everything of Dan Brown's.

After that, I began having withdrawal symptoms. I'd become a page-turning adrenaline junkie. Then I found Jeffery Deaver. Instead of starting out with The Bone Collector (which was made into a movie, with Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie), I decided to read The Coffin Dancer first. There were so many plot twists, so many unexpected developments, that my head was reeling afterward, but what a rollercoaster ride!! Of course, now that I've read all of the Lincoln Rhyme books, and a good many of Deaver's other ones, there is a familiar pattern developing. But they're still smashingly good reads when I'm in a certain mood!

Then there were endless hours sitting in front of a computer at work waiting for work to come my way. And so I downloaded some e-books and started reading the complete Sherlock Holmes. We had a copy at home when I was younger, and I'd read a few in abridged form, but they hadn't really captured my imagination. I think maybe it's been watching all the CSI stuff on TV lately that has gotten me hooked into the whole forensics and detecting thing.

Oh, was I sad when I came to that last story. I can sympathise with the English public that repeatedly wrote to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle imploring him to write more Sherlock stories. Unfortunately, that isn't an option for me now. But then.....Ah! but then! Then I stumbled across The Beekeeper's Apprentice. (I think it might even have been the inspiration for the name of this blog.)

Moocow vehemently believes that fictional characters shouldn't have alternate histories written of them, that they should never be resurrected by anyone other than their original creator. In general, I tend to agree. But I truly feel that Laurie R. King has preserved the integrity of Sherlock's original character, whilst at the same time improving on it, giving him more depth, more time, more adventures, and a young, female apprentice (Mary Russell) as intellectually brilliant as he is. Add to that the fact that King writes delightful (and grammatically correct) prose, and who could resist? You know, it really is a pet peeve of mine, but I abhor people who use "that" when they should be using "who." After all, people are human (one would hope)! You can debate over descriptive grammar versus prescriptive grammar, but my sentiments still stand.

Now I've read all the Mary Russell books and am anxiously waiting for the next installment. But the ravening beast must be fed! So, what have I been reading lately? Maybe it's all the ruffles, lace and retro elements in fashion recently, but I've found I really like reading Victorian-era books. Anne Perry has two great Victorian mystery series, the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt novels and the William Monk novels. I prefer the Monk books; they're meatier, I think the character development is handled much more deftly, and there's a significant element of courtroom drama thrown in as well, with the character of Oliver Rathbone (an attorney), that is missing from the Pitt novels. Kind of like Law and Order in Victorian London.

Boy, was I shocked when I found that Anne Perry (nee Juliet Hulme) had been convicted of murder when she was sixteen. (You can read about it here, I kid you not.) Maybe that's why her treatment of motive, guilt and consequence are so profound in her writing. I really recommend reading something of hers.

(Sorry about the lack of pictures, but I didn't want to infringe on copyright, or steal someone else's bandwidth.) And for Puri-chan, I've added some links to free e-book sites, since you asked abuot them.

Posted by Lana to Bumbling Bees - Food For the Soul at 3/17/2006 01:11:00 PM

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