Saturday, January 12, 2008

And now featuring one of my absolutest favoritest book series that I read last year

Don’t mind me – I’m just warming up my blogging muscles - such as they are.

I’m not the sort of person who deliberately catalogues what I read in any particular way. It’s more that the vast and growing-ever-more-mountainous-yet accretion of books in my room has a life (and a structure) of it's own. Regarding the first, flatmates have speculated on the leporine breeding habits of the common or garden liber fictionalis (sic[k] - and sorry to any latinists). At least in such close quarters. And doesn't all the noise keep me awake at nights?

But as regards the second, on the Great Paperback Mountain, if you know how to read the topology, patterns emerge... Duly extracted from the third pile of paperbacks in from the left (spines out) at the back on the top shelf of the Bower of Bliss that is my incarnation of A Well-Known-Swedish-Modular-Furniture-Flatpak-Company's birch-effect "Mötesplats"* model I offer for consideration Laurie R. King’s "Mary Russell" series.

Except anything that follows is going to be crap, because whenever I try to explain my adoration for this series, I am woefully ineloquent. I end up talking like this, “They're really, really good. Promise. Seriously. They're soooo goooood. Wait - please don’t read the back cover. It's much better than that, really. You’ll like it. You might love it. Please stop reading the back cover. It's not like that. I promise. Well, okay a little. Yes, it is Sherlock Holmes and yes, he is married. I've just made that sound really weird. But it’s not. Well, okay, he is a lot older than her, but I just sort of channel Sean Connery and it helps. But it's like all about their meeting of minds...

"Wait, wait a sec before you put it down. Please? Yes, that one has Kipling’s Kim in it. But he’s a great character she really makes him her own. Anyhow, they're all sort of inter-textual and each book is like a homage to these classic genres of popular fiction. You know the Gothic mystery, and the Locked Room mystery… And they’re really cool, because she’s a feminist, and there are these ideas about the outsider the observer and how she makes her own place, because she’s half English and half American and Jewish. And she’s a theologian. So she questions everything and doesn't accept the way society would try to limit her. Oh. Okay. Not really your thing. Try this Meg Cabot. A cheerleader has her head chopped off and put in a saucepan.”

But secretly? Secretly, I want to be Mary Russell when I grow up. Just like I want to be Harriet Vane when I grow up. Not for the events or the mysteries or the men in their lives, but for the thoughtful and even (ungrammatically) thinking way they live their lives.

Actually, I owe a huge thank you to Marianne McA who recommended this series to me, and hooked me by way of an extract from the first of the books, The Beekeeper’s Apprentice. I can do no more, it seems. Alas. So don’t pay attention to my witterings – go read the extract.

*(koff) not a the name of the real product - their word means "shop assistant". This word doesn't and I like it better.

Edited to update links. My bad. Thanks Suisan for spotting this.

6 comments:

Suisan said...

I had heard of The Beekepers Apprentice, but then never read it.

Your gushing over the series got me interested again, but the excerpt link, she not worky.

Never fear, I'm off to buy, site unseen, excerpt unread, these books you recommend. They sound great.

EvilAuntiePeril said...

Oops. *blushes*. Clearly the blogging muscles still need some warming up. Thanks for letting me know, Suisan.

Anyhow, I really hope you enjoy the books as much as I did.

Chris said...

Hi, I can't find any contacts on your blog. Can I ask you to send a note for me? My email is in profile.
Thanks, Chris

Anonymous said...

Glad you liked. Mind you, they were originally recommended to me by book pimp extrodinaire P.S.Mitchell on Suz Brockmann's board (who also told me to read Bujold), so I can't claim credit for finding King. (My copy of Touchstone arrived this morning - not Russell, but worth a happy dance nonetheless.)

And, speaking of book pimping, thanks for The Athenian murders. I read it over Christmas, and spent a happy day shouting at children whenever they tried to talk to me. (Normally I can talk and read, but that book demanded that I focus.) Thanks.

Marianne McA

Darlene said...

You're not alone, EAP. My best friend urged me for years to read The Beekeeper's Apprentice, but the premise was so strange I kept resisting.

Once I read it, I attacked the library shelves to get all the others.

Part of what I like best is how she subtly weaves in both fictional and historical characters. A certain piano playing lord in A Letter of Mary had me grinning from ear to ear. Half the fun is figuring out who's who.

Her latest, Touchstone, is a stand alone novel that again features memorable characters and scenes. I recommend it.

EvilAuntiePeril said...

Hi Marianne, so glad you enjoyed The Athenian Murders. It is one for focus, but in such a good way.

And hello also, Darlene - you're right about the figuring out. I haven't re-read these yet, but spotting this kind of thing is something I really look forward to. (I pretty much gulped them up this time around).

And thanks to both of you for recommending Touchstone. I did read The Art of Detection but that's my only exposure to her non-Russell side. It's really good to know it's worth a read.