Not licking doorknobs yet, but I did join a neighborhood book club! My previous one fell apart. Alas, the May meetup at a member's outside patio is when I am out of town so I won't meet them until June. I'll read the May and June selections anyway.
May is Erica Bauermeister's The Scent Keeper, which was available as an eBook. I actually purchased the paper variety of the June selection which is Julie Andrews' The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles. I've been reading on Nook for so long I barely remember that smell of book pages!
So, I know no one in this group, but local people who read. I'm rather excited about the prospect of being social again. Well, in about 6 weeks, then I go north for summer and won't see them until October.
Summer is much more engaging for socialization as the local Old Forge NY library has gatherings outside at least weekly. Local writers and guest readings, musical groups, all kinds of events. They laid hula hoops on the ground for distancing last summer for the events.
I had been dragging my feet on my self-imposed assignment of reading Poe's Dupin stories - I vaguely remembered not loving The Murders in the Rue Morgue and when I started reading it I got as far as Dupin demonstrating his ratiocination via a sort of mind-reading trick and that irritated me enough I put it down and didn't want to pick it up again. I didn't like it when Holmes did it to Watson, either. But that was a few days ago and yesterday I called in sick so I had the afternoon free to leisurely read short stories and pause frequently and google whatever and I ended up getting through all three and I'm glad I did. They cast a long shadow - so much of what was apparently introduced in these shows up very clearly echoed in Holmes and and onward.
I still don't love the mystery in Rue Morgue, but I do see that as an example of Dupin's technique it has much to recommend it. Something that comes up in the discussion of why whist and draughts are better measures of analytic ability than chess really jumped out at me "The necessary knowledge is that of what to observe". This is an insight I had while watching Psych, that Shawn's observational superpowers only got him so far, what solved the mysteries were his realization of what of all the things he had observed were important. I get the feeling in reading Holmes stories that it's the sheer weight of the data at his command, everything he has noticed and all the random things he happens to know and maybe has written a monograph on, that inevitably produce his conclusions, although perhaps that is Watson's interpretation. And, of course, it is funny to me that I should make this Dupin- Shawn Spencer connection and be delighted by it when I so dislike the mind-reading effect of Dupin's ratiocination. But there it is.
I need to think some more about how it falls in the division between horror and mystery.
The Mystery of Marie Roget I don't think I have heard of before much less read. It's interesting, reads like the first half of a ripped-from-the-headlines Law and Order. Being the Postmodern Baby I am I saw the footnotes and wondered if they were also made up, but no, Smithsonian Magazine had an article detailing the actual crime that Poe fictionalized and cited in the footnotes and its relation to the story's publication history. Very interesting.
The Purloined Letter I was relieved to find I still like very much. There was apparently a bit of controversy in critical theory circles about The Purloined Letter about the 1970s that I am not sure was not an elaborate joke, I might have to look into that.
It seems strange to me that there should only be these 3 stories. Why did Dupin not catch the public's imagination the way Holmes would? Is it just a matter of timing and if so why should that be? Was Poe too busy with all the other stuff he was writing to exploit a series character? Also, why set these in France?
Anyway, pleased with my progress and have found an audiobook version of Louisa May Alcott's Plots and Counterplots that reputedly has a Dupin parody character in it. This will be my first "sensational" Alcott and I am excited about it
My library's open to patrons! It's been a year. I waved my arms in the air as I walked up to the door and I'm pretty sure my friend Helen was laughing her ass off over it, but the greeter was just as excited to see us. A stack of books 18 inches high now adorns the bench beside me - I would have hauled more out, but we were on foot; the Chanur collection is on top. Pyanfar is just the best.
I missed it so much.
That is so exciting! I'm very happy for you
Pyanfar is just the best.
She is entirely kickass, even when she's terrified.
I'm on the second in that series now. Quite enjoyable.
V. V., Plots and Counterplots was good fun if you like lurid tales of murder and revenge. I'm definitely interested in reading more of the stuff Alcott published anonymously/pseudonymously. And it does have a bit of detecting in it, although I wouldn't call it a detective story.
I suppose Wilkie Collins is next but Victories Greater Than Death and The Galaxy and the Ground Within are out, so that'll have to wait
I saw a meme (I guess it was) the other day. Over stills from the appropriate movies, it was along the lines of:
Harry Potter fans: I want to go to Hogwarts
Narnia fans: I want to go to Narnia
Hunger Game fans: no thanks, I'm good
Three romance novels written by Stacey Abrams (under the name Selena Montgomery) are being reissued. Story here.
That is so cool, Todd. I had no idea. Sending the link to my romance reading sister and niece.