A little light reading.

Sorry for no new entry today. On Thursday, I shoved a 2,200-word bolus of type into the outbox, so as to clear my desk for the weekend’s work of preparing a 3,500-word bolus of type to be delivered Tuesday latest. Honestly, I just wasn’t in the mood to spend another minute staring at a screen.

(Again, do not construe any part of this as a complaint. I’m billing more in six weeks than I did all year. I might have to pay quarterly income taxes.)

Instead of staring at a screen, I stared at “The Wheelman,” which I picked up on the recommendation of Ms. Lippman and am thoroughly enjoying, even though the author appears, from his photo, to be about 12 years old.

The precipitating event of the book is a bank robbery. I love bank robberies, at least fictional ones. There’s something about a stick-up that just makes sense — you have the money, I need money, give me your money. The FBI is always issuing press releases whenever there’s a string of bank robberies in any given neighborhood, telling the public what a terrible idea it is. If their statistics tell the truth, it is — the average amount taken in most bank heists is shockingly low. On the other hand, the risk is pretty low, too. You’ve got security cameras, sure, and the prospect of Leavenworth in your future, but tellers don’t resist the way, say, liquor-store owners do. If it weren’t for the dye packs, everybody’d be in the business.

Anyway, “The Wheelman” is worth your time. I’m also reading Nick Hornby’s “A Long Way Down,” which is light as a feather, but in a good way.

Posted at 8:10 pm in Uncategorized |

4 responses to “A little light reading.”

  1. Maureen said on October 21, 2005 at 10:01 pm

    From a letter to this summer to my friend in Paris:

    What is bred in the bone�.

    Which reminds me of the Robertson Davies book of the same title, and how I neglected to send along a review of the book you gave me, An African in Greenland. It is a travel book, at its core, but so much more than that. I don�t think it could be written today as it is a decidedly unromantic insight into native culture. (Although one that has been so corrupted by the Danish welfare culture that it no longer is native in the true sense.) The author is quite a character in his own right � honest, charming, clear-eyed yet innocent, and resourceful. I highly recommend it, especially to you. The description of the native food � seal blubber, whale skin, and reindeer fat (used in place of milk for coffee, the undissolved lump of fat at the end being a particular delicacy) � would make you fall to your knees in praise and thanks for Paris. I spent most of my week in Catalina saying, �Oh God, listen to this � it is so gross.� In fact, and this is absolutely true, I almost threw up while reading about the full plate of whale blubber with its cartilaginous skin and the author�s unwitting request for a second helping. Okay, we were on the boat and I was queasy anyway, but really, I had the bag out.

    I just finished reading Nick Hornby�s A Long Way Down. I know he doesn�t speak to you, but I am such a big fan. I think it is a profound book in many ways, and would be a great discussion starter. One of the characters (Maureen!) has a disabled child and I heard Hornby talk about on Fresh Air how he drew from his own experience as the father of an autistic child when writing the book. It is about life and death and the fear that comes from realizing that life is the only option.

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  2. Paul said on October 21, 2005 at 10:20 pm

    I haven’t read A Long Way Down (and I don’t plan to, despite having heard the excellent Fresh Air interview Maureen alludes to as well), but I have read much of Hornby’s other work, including many of his short stories, and I think that he’s unfairly characterized as a “lads'” author. “How To Be Good” was, in fact, a serious novel, though one that perhaps wasn’t as over-the-top serious as the Joyce Carol Oates of the world….

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  3. Duane Swierczynski said on October 22, 2005 at 12:09 am

    Hi, Nancy. I’m glad you’re enjoying THE WHEELMAN so far. As far as my author photo… I only look young because it’s hard to see my gray hair. Or my walker. Or dentures. Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to go watch MATLOCK…

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  4. Nance said on October 22, 2005 at 9:18 am

    Good lord, I posted that maybe three hours ago. Duane, you’re a Google-mad fool. (Either that, or Lippman tipped you off.)

    Oh, and I wasn’t even remotely disparaging “A Long Way Down,” Maureen. I’m enjoying it immensely. I’m intrigued with how Hornby manages to make fairly heavy subject material read as breezily as a comic book, and without resorting to cliche, mawkishness or other cheap tricks.

    I plan to take both books on a long car trip today. Full report later.

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