Monday, April 04, 2005

What I Did Over the Weekend

Like you care--except that I did read when I wasn't driving during what was close to twenty hours I spent in a car over three days.

I tried to read 300 by Frank Miller of Sin City fame and Lynn Varley, who really needs to get herself a better web presence. 300 is a graphic (as in pictures, not gruesome, folks) retelling of the story of Leonidas and the three hundred Spartans. I'm familiar with the tale, and I still couldn't follow what was going on in this book. So I gave it up.

In all honesty, I have to admit I sometimes have trouble with graphic novels. I may be too linear a person to follow both a text story line and a pictorial story line. As a general rule, the images don't help tell the story for me. I loved Marvel comics in my early teen years but don't have the patience for them now. Maybe graphic literature is a young person's game.

I am relieved to report, though, that I did read a book I liked--Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear. I think The New York Times blurb Prepare to be astonished was going way too far, but, nonetheless, I did like this book. It's the story of a young woman WWI survivor who becomes a private investigator. Instead of being an aristocrat like Lord Peter Wimsey, probably the most famous post WWI detective, Maisie is a former house servant who was educated by her employer and has some mysterious intuitive skills of her own. I like the post WWI period and recently it's been the background to some other mysteries, most notably the Inspector Rutledge books by Charles Todd, which I found very disappointing. (Come on, you didn't think I'd like more than one book per post, did you?)

Anyway, the plot isn't perfect in Maisie--the mystical part isn't terribly clear or well thought out and some readers might find the climax a little sappy. However, if you can keep your mind open to how horribly scarred the British must have been by the First World War I, you might be able to accept it. Maisie Dobbs is the first in a series, and I'll definitely be looking forward to the next volume.

Why am I mentioning an adult mystery in a blog for kids? Because a lot of older children and teens read adult mysteries from the Twenties and Thirties, including Agatha Christie and the aforementioned Lord Peter, before moving onto stronger stuff. Maisie Dobbs would be a great addition and a great reading list title since it has such a very, very strong sense of its era.

I was also in Border's this weekend and the new Artemis Fowl book was prominently displayed by the front door! I'm much more excited about reading this book than I am about reading the new Harry Potter book coming out in July. In fact, I see reading Harry as a bit of a chore.

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