Friday, January 02, 2009


In the Christian Science Monitor which I sometimes look into ( not often enough) there is an article by Kathryn Streeter on reading Shakespeare. She made it a 2007 New Year's Resolution to read a drama a month. It got me thinking about making a reading, and writing, resolution. Since I no longer belong to a book group it seems a good idea to put some discipline into my reading myself, or at least try to, by setting a reading goal. I don't think it will be Shakespeare, though. And as for writing, there again, I need to set myself a writing goal, otherwise the pages remain blank.

On my trip west I didn't get to write but I did read. I didn't get as much reading time as I hoped on the train trip as there was more socialising than I thought. But I finished two books both by James Lee Burke. My husband enjoys his books so I thought I would try them out. I had already read one of his books before I left, a collection of short stories, under the title Jesus Out to Sea. I found the writing good and the stories gripping so I packed a couple of his other efforts to take with me.

I finished The Tin Roof Blowdown set in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and then polished off another in the Detective David Robicheaux series, written earlier, which is set before Hurricane Katrina, Pegasus Descending. Both were excellent reading, neither too light nor too heavy for reading in airports, planes and trains.

Burke is a deceptive writer, like Stephen King; his work appears to be in the action/crime/mystery genre but I find his work quite profound with a moral sense most of that ilk don't have. His settings in Louisiana are wonderfully described. You can feel the heat and the humidity and the scent of the bayous. His main protagonist David Robicheaux, a Cajun, is a flawed character and much of the action stems from his anger at the lack of justice in the world, and the baggage he carries with him from a troubled past. The plots are twisted and complex but didn't feel artificial. Burke's wide life experience shows in his novels.

I liked the books and I am set to read another in the Robicheaux series, Crusader's Cross, working backwards as it were, as this was written earlier again than the other two I read. It isn't Shakespeare but it is a start.

1 comment:

mamie said...

I'm happy to see you back book-blogging! Strangely, after a hiatus of several months, I felt like putting something on my blog yesterday. Maybe it will be the start of sharing? My comment, like yours, mentioned the motivation that came from belonging to the writing group.

Oh, life is a glorious cycle of song,
A medley of extemporanea;
And love is a thing that can never go wrong;
And I am Marie of Romania.
Dorothy Parker, Not So Deep as a Well (1937)