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Wednesday Reading (Now on Wednesday!)

I'm posting the Wednesday Reading Meme on time this week! That's a good sign, right? Let's just pretend it's a good sign.

What I've Just Finished Reading

The Innocence of Father Brown is basically great. I like Father Brown when he's blinking stupidly at the experts he's just outwitted and gently steering suspects toward a confession. I could do with a little less musing on the Empty Mind of the Atheist (because seriously, you're G. K. Chesterton; how would you know?) and the variety of racially distinct soul types found on the Eurasian continent, but what can you do? The Golden Age of Detective Fiction is a harsh mistress.

My main problem with this book is just my usual problem of missing the point: I've become overly attached to Flambeau, the giant and theatrical master criminal who befriends Father Brown after the latter foils several of his heists and eventually retires from crime to be a private detective. This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship! and in some ways it is, but conversations between Flambeau and Father Brown inevitably take a back seat to the mystery of the week in these short stories. I want a longer story where they can just relax for a while and Flambeau can do some independent detecting where he brings his experience as a criminal mastermind to bear and maybe struggle a little with his adjustment to regular-person ethics and off-the-rack clothing.

More conversations between Fr. Brown and Flambeau would be a great opportunity to pile on the theological paradox-slinging if that's your jam (it is very obviously Chesterton's jam) and also to pair two distinct detecting styles and get the best of both. But after his retirement from crime Flambeau mostly just tags along and asks questions. I guess we'll see what happens in the next book. The first story in the collection, "The Blue Cross," is still my favorite, I think.

What I'm Reading Now

The Silmarillion -- ugh, Eol is causing me to have mixed feelings. First of all, he's a creep -- he tricked Turgon's sister into marrying him by making his forest impossible to find her way out of. The narrative is all "It was said she was not wholly unwilling," but that doesn't cut a lot of ice when you've trapped her in a forest for weeks or months or years to force a meeting. He's just unethical. But I sympathize with him about the Noldor. Do they really have the right to hold him, just because he found his way into their secret city? He didn't ask for their swords or their wars. I'm on his side here. He should be allowed to go home. I mean, if he did, he would probably have made some kind of trouble. But that doesn't mean he doesn't have a point. As it is, he makes plenty of trouble and sets the stage for more to come. The Silmarillion is full of characters turning their reasonable gripes into unreasonable murder.

Woman in Red -- Sixty pages in, this Water Damage Club selection is still boring me a little, but not nearly as much as A Distant Trumpet and it's a lot shorter, so I'm going to try to roll on through and hope it kicks into the high gear promised me by its promotional blurbs. A woman tries to reconnect with her son after serving a decade-long prison sentence, and of course it's difficult. There's something hard to work with about the prose, but I'm not sure what it is yet, or that it won't wear off once things get going.

Finnegans Wake is just the same as before, only more so.

What I Plan to Read Next

I never really know the answer to this question! I have a lot of possibilities lined up, but nothing certain right now. Mostly I'm at the mercy of my library's inconsistent inter-library loaning process. Could be more Tey, could be At Swim-Two-Birds, could be Jane Austen or something from my bookshelves. My to-read pile is more of a to-read ocean.

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
lost_spook
Apr. 8th, 2015 07:43 pm (UTC)
The Golden Age of Detective Fiction is a harsh mistress.

Like so many things, really!
evelyn_b
Apr. 9th, 2015 06:12 pm (UTC)
Too true.
wordsofastory
Apr. 9th, 2015 06:38 pm (UTC)
and the variety of racially distinct soul types found on the Eurasian continent, but what can you do? The Golden Age of Detective Fiction is a harsh mistress.

Haha, this is a beautiful, amazing line.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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