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Austen to Zafón

Reading widely since 1972.

Currently reading

A London Family, 1870-1900: A Trilogy
Molly Hughes
The Cellist of Sarajevo
Steven Galloway
Lives of a Cell: Notes of a Biology Watcher
Lewis Thomas
All the Names
José Saramago, Margaret Jull Costa
A History of the World in 100 Objects
Neil MacGregor
Down the Garden Path
Beverley Nichols
Virtue Betray'd, Or, Anna Bullen
John Banks
Year of Wonders
Geraldine Brooks
Swallows and Amazons
Arthur Ransome
Illusion in java
Gene Fowler
Midnight Riot - Ben Aaronovitch I don't usually read much in the way of police procedurals, but this had a couple things going for it: It's ever so very English and my husband really, really wanted me to read it because he loved it. We don't usually have much literary cross-over, and since he thought I'd like it, I felt compelled to give it a try. He was right, I did enjoy it. It was a fun read and I learned a lot of English trivia I didn't know before. I looked up a lot of things. Aaronovitch seems to pride himself on making oblique references and using undefined acronyms. The story clipped along nicely and I was surprised quite a few times, which is always a good thing for me.

Main con: Aaronovitch's female characters are largely one-dimensional and usually described in terms of whether they are attractive of not. Peter Grant, the main character, has a female cop partner and she could have been so much more. He opens be describing her as blonde and perpetually perky and he never really gets beyond that. She has quite a few good lines, but we know next to nothing about her. Other female characters are even more sketchy and stereotypical. I can't help but sigh when a modern novel can't have even one good female character.

The main pro: The humor. Boy, there are some great lines in this book. Dry, witty, cutting, insightful, and frequently laugh-out-loud funny. One of my favorite lines is when a bomb explodes in a house in a posh neighborhood (Purley): "Concerned neighbors rushed out to see what was happening to their property values." Despite my reservations about his cardboard female characters, I will give the sequel a try.