Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Island Murders by Wanda Canada is a story that grabs you by the throat on page one and keeps on choking. Dead bodies pile up like magazines on the back of the toilet. I lost count—six dead in the first half of the book? Plus one house fire and one attempted house fire, and shots fired in the main character’s back yard. Before I even get to know people, they’re dead. Hey, I get it—people are getting killed; who has time for characterization?
Murder mysteries are not my favorite books, but I read them sometimes. I never relate to the main character. Me? I’d be cowering somewhere with my eyes closed, afraid of finding yet another body—or being the next body.
I think murder mysteries are the snacks of the literary world. They’re usually not good for a full meal, like Sue Monk Kidd’s The Secret Life of Bees, or Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. But sometimes you don’t want a full meal. You just want a little nosh, a nibble. And that’s when a murder mystery or a romance or Janet Evanovich’s humor comes in. Sometimes it’s just right. Years ago when we lived near a small branch library I got tired of trying to select interesting books from their small assortment and began reading alphabetically by author. Haphazard, yes, but I discovered some great books that way.
Time to ‘fess up. What do you like to read when you’re not reading War and Peace or Anna Karenina? What are your go-to “snacks”?
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