Friday, February 27, 2015

Describe yourself in 3 words

Because I’m in the midst of the biggest reading cram session of my young life (9 books to finish in the next 6 weeks; totally do-able, but they’re all assigned reading, so there’s little time for the fun kind), I’m communicating this week via shorthand. 

Some of these books below, I read by choice and liked. Some, not so much. 

Here goes…

Shopgirl by Steve Martin
3 words: irreverent, shallow, modern

Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer by James L. Swanson
3 words: immediate, detailed, fast-paced

Whiskey Beach by Nora Roberts
3 words: comfortable, homey, unrealistic

...with an unbelievably over-achieving female lead

2:00 “And so accomplished…”

Dad Is Fat by Jim Gaffigan
3 words: funny, quick, warm

Yes Please by Amy Poehler
3 words: varied, comic, Gen X

Point of Origin by Patricia Cornwell
3 words: disturbing, raw, detailed

I'm so reading nothing but what I want. In May.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Creepy as a super disturbing mannequin

The Cabinet of Curiosities by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

3 words: creepy, long-winded spree

While filling in gaps in my thriller reading, I finally (finally!) read a book by Preston and Child. 

I remember way back in the dawn of time, reading a review of Relic and thinking it sounded amazing. Then I proceeded to ignore Preston and Child for roughly 20 years. 

So, yeah. Now I know why some people light up when you say, “Preston and Child,” to them.

This is some fun stuff to read. There’s crime and history and science and a museum setting and a bit of the supernatural, and it’s all wrapped up in this wonderfully zippy quest to solve some darn horrific murders in New York. 

The “cabinet of curiosities” plot element is pretty creepy. Basically, they were like combination science museums / freakshows, and they were huge during the late 1800s. Eerie as all crap, guys.

After reading this book, I learned that Pendergast, the mysterious Southern gentleman FBI agent who is vaguely the main character of the book, is the basis for Preston and Child’s series. Dude’s pretty weird, but in a good way. And he does this great time-traveling-in-his-head thing that threw me back to Jack Finney’s Time and Again. (I also kept thinking of Caleb Carr’s The Alienist because of the creepy murders in Victorian New York.)

My only complaint is that this book is long, long, long, and some of the scenes drag out even longer. Especially the suspenseful scenes. Seriously. I was practically rooting at one point for the diabolical killer to just get it over with so we could move on with the story.  
Predictably, there were sections of this book I had to skip because they got too creepy and horrible. Surgical torture scenes? Ain’t gonna happen on my watch.

The good news: you can skip ‘em and...
a) no one will know unless you tell them,
b) you won’t miss anything vital, and
c) you’ll avoid seeing images in your head that you can’t erase
(like that horrid mannequin*)

*You're welcome.