Friday, April 20, 2007

I couldn't pick it up

I'm starting to see more people on the tube reading The Interpretation Of Murder by Jed Rubinfeld. I feel like saying "are you really enjoying that or are you only reading it because it was piled high in Waterstones?" I picked up a copy of this in the office a few months back after reading the blurb from Matthew Pearl, the writer of the very excellent Dante Club, and abandoned it after 100 pages because nothing had happened. There was a time when you could always understand how best sellers had become best sellers. Frederick Forsyth's Day Of The Jackal was no masterpiece but it was a page-turner. But these days I recoil from Harry Potter or The Da Vinci Code amazed at their sheer tedium. Is there a new market opening up for dull books?


  1. Anonymous7:40 am

    I don't think that I got as far as you before giving up on The Interpretation Of Murder - the New York history lessons and musings on psychology got in the way of what could have been a good story.
    Although I would highly recommend his Tudor mysteries, I'm now on the verge of abandoning C.J. Sansom's Winter In Madrid - another one where not much is happening at a very slow pace.

  2. I've found a lot of books decidedly underwhelming lately. I think I made it to page 3 of Cloud Atlas before deciding life's too short.

    (to be fair, you're probably not the target audience for Harry Potter.)

  3. Anonymous3:00 pm

    Thrillers? Crimmies? Procedurals? Whatever you call them, give me a good "Ed McBain" any day of the week. He invented the modern American police procedural; was the first writer to feature the entire precinct house as protagonists. I believe he sued Hill Street Blues for stealing the concept. Anyway, if you're starved for good writing in this genre, seek out Ed. He was funny, literate without being showy, even thought-provoking. He wrote over 50 of them, from the 1950's into the 21st Century, before finally succumbing to throat cancer a few years ago.

  4. The novels of Kurt Vonnegut: powerful, thought-provoking, exciting, funny - and short (no time for boredom to set in).

    I recall reading Mary Shelley's Frankenstein in the late 80s, as a form of literary roughage. Didn't pass the halfway mark - and I loved the film!