Sunday, 31 July 2011

Reading Schedule

I've recently finished Robert Crais's Two Minute Rule and am about 1/2 way through three other books at present. I found the Crais novel a little ordinary and I think the last one or two of his books have started to fall in a formulaic pattern, particularly the stand alone works. I started reading his Elvis Cole novels some years ago when The Monkey's Raincoat first appeared and quickly passed it onto friends as a new voice, eagerly awaiting new books to appear in the canon.

His standalones like Hostage and Demolition Angel were strong and full of surprises, but this outing with the obvious mechanical device of the Two Minute Rule for bank robbers and the lack of character development of the two protagonists meant that the book dragged out for me. I usually work my way through a Crais novel very quickly, turning them over in about 24 - 48 hours, but this novel dragged. His standalones seem to lack the humour of the Cole and Pike novels and this book in particular seemed to be a treacle-like experience as I worked my way through it.

Currently I'm halfway through a Shane Maloney novel Sucked In which passed under my radar and I only recently discovered it. Maloney's Murray Whelan series is one of the treasures of contemporary crime literature in Australia. The books have been a wonderful history of Australian culture and politics and his protagonist is the same age as me, but with a far stronger leaning to the left and a more cynical eye than mine. Murray Whelan – political fixer, hopeless romantic, inadvertant detective and accidental MP – is the unreliable narrator of six novels and Sucked In, the latest, is a wonderful addition to the ongoing series. As Ian Rankin says, "Shane Maloney just keeps getting better" and this latest outing where he investigates the death of a prominent unionist is an enjoyable comedic romp.

And finally I'm working my way through two non fiction works : Steven Pressfield's classic book on blocks to creativity - The War of Art - is being reread for the third time. This time around I'm finding I'm still disagreeing with the third section (as I did on the previous reads), but also have questions about the second part. Having said that, I have found the book incredibly helpful and hopefully it will motivate me to get back to some creative acts in the next few weeks.

The other non Fiction book is Studio by Lloyd and McDonald - another book on the nature of creativity through the working methods and studio practises of Australian painters that were interviewed and photographed in this wonderful large format book. Highly recommended, but not a cheap read. So lets hope these books inspire something useful in me.
Burn brightly, Pete.

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