A couple of years back, I had briefly inserted my little toe into facebook to test its waters before removing it with a jerk because the current threatened to drown me. During the brief rendezvous, I ran into a childhood friend whose online persona was now “Expecto Patronum”. I was a nubile, innocent woman at that time, not corrupted by the kid yet. When she told me that the word is the essence of Harry Potter, I vowed never to read a book that housed drivel.
I hate the taste of my own words.
In the past four months (one of which was spent gaping at the computer every waking moment of the day), I read 4 Harry Potters (1, 7, 2 and 3) in my very own Kindle (a hand-me-down by dude, who got himself a cooler version of it). I can’t stand the protagonist, but Hermoine reminds me uncannily of myself as a kid. I am smitten and won’t stop until all of them are in my “read” (past tense) list.
We bought the second book of the trilogy by Amish – The Secret of the Nagas. I will buy and read the third book as well, not because I think it is a great series, but because the storyline is intriguing. The attempt to historify mythology is laudable, and he has been fairly successful with the plot. Amish’s language needs considerable tightening and he tends to go a batty at places, especially when he tries to justify fantasy with what he thinks is science (radio-wave telepathy? excuse me !). Amish attempts a Dan Brown-meets–Salman Rushdie, but lacks the native fluency of Brown or the class of Rushdie (class in terms of language – I hate his plots), thereby clouding an excellent plot in substandard presentation.
September used up the few brain cells I have and so I settled for books that I had read before. Five little pigs by Agatha Christie, Death in the Clouds (Agatha Christie) and A Marriage made in Heaven or too tired to have an affair (Erma Bombeck). I can recite these books cover-to-cover, verbatim.
Once October started, I decided to start on – Jane Langton – yes, Amish was an exception in the female saga of the year. I started with a Homer Kelley mystery – The Face on the Wall. The solution to the mystery is not difficult to predict, at least not after a staple of Agatha Christies during childhood, but her story was un-put-downable due to the elegance of language and the tautness throughout. It is not the “oh, what happens next” kind of thrill that makes you read further, but the feeling of “Oh no…no no…this can’t be happening” kind of dismay that makes you read just-one-more-page before turning in. Her parallels to folk-lore and nursery rhymes, although less subtle than it could have been, adds to the tension of the story. There is subtle human drama in the background which makes it wholesome rather than just a straight who-dun-it.
I foresee that The Face on the Wall will be followed by other Langtons.
But right now, I have 3 more Potters to finish.
Post cross posted at Babblogue