Monday, October 10, 2011

On the End of Children's Literature

No time for a post -- things are a bit hectic (in a good way) and I'll resume posting in a week or two.  However, I read this New York Times article this morning, and it gave me food for thought:

What do you think?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Penchant For Mystery

There are two kinds of mysteries I enjoy -- books that are true "whodunits;" that stump the reader to the very last page, and mysteries that aren't terribly complicated, can be solved by chapter 4, but are fun to read for other reasons.

In this first category one can fit most of Agatha Christie's work, Dorothy Sayers, Rex Stout, and others.  Into the second category I now add Martin Walker's French wine country mysteries.  Bruno, the chief of police of St. Denis, is an almost lovable character.  His exploits include foiling criminals whilst dressed in a Santa Claus suit, and rescuing small children from dung pits.  I've lost count of the number of times he needs to replace his uniform.  As well, this series is a pleasure to read if you are a foodie.  Vast meals shared by longtime friends are described in great detail, to my great delight.  The mystery is a side attraction, and in any case a clever reader can see where the story is going by the end of the second chapter, if not sooner.

I recently read another mystery that fits the first category but is fun to read none the less.  Death and the Maiden, by Gerald Elias, is another installment in the series starring Jacobus, a crabby old violin teacher.  Peopled by intriguing characters such as Nathaniel, an African-American cellist who wears a dashiki, and a Seeing-Eye bulldog called Trotsky (because he can't runsky), these books are written from the point of view of Jacobus, which is interesting, because he is blind.  This series does focus strongly on music and music-related crimes, but the reader does not need a great deal of acumen to enjoy the mysteries.