"Where else would you go when you have an ax to grind?"

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

turning pages

#9 Why Me? by Donald E. Westlake
Is there anything as pleasurable as a midweek day off (especially a Monday?) - sleeping late, getting up to strong coffee, a toasted western, and a Dortmunder novel you haven't read yet when you have no other plans for the day? I doubt it. Read this in a single three hour sitting without so much as a restroom break. Nobody does humorous caper novels like Westlake. It is odd that none of these have seemed to translate into decent movies, though its been tried again and again. For those not in the know, John Dortmunder is a professional thief who lives and works in New York City. Aided as always by an eccentric  group of accomplices, Dortmunder is the master heist planner. He is also the unluckiest crook ever born. In this instalment, he inadvertently steals the world's largest and most famous ruby and the resultant political heat has the NYPD, FBI and CIA, a variety of terrorist groups and and foreign spooks and every crook in NYC looking for the stone and the guy who stole it. Needless to say, zany hijinks ensue.

#10 The Wild Things by Dave Eggers
There is more than than zany hijinks afoot in Dave Eggers novelization of his screenplay adapted from the classic picture book Where the Wild Things Are. As in most of Eggers work, there is raw emotion, existential angst and movement, always movement. I loved Eggers' A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius and the combination of sorrow, whimsy and affection he brings to most of his writing make this a very affecting novel. Few writers understand and can portray the mind of a nine-year-old boy this well.


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