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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Just Some Thoughts...

What bothers me and what I consider a flaw in many current mystery/crime novels  is the weird and gruesome manner of the murders.  Trying to make each murder more profane than the last is becoming a bit hackneyed in so many mystery/crime novels now, especially those dealing with serial killers.  Novelists seem to be in a kind of (excuse my crudeness) pissing contest for unusual and obscene murders.

After a while, the graphic mutilations and weirdness become overdone in novels and on television.  Let it rest a while.  I love mystery/crime novels, but prefer to have technique, plot, and characters (especially characters) take the forefront.  Maybe it is just me, but I don't read mystery/crime for the weirdness of the murders. How about you?  What do you like best in this genre?  Favorite authors?

Currently reading two excellent nonfiction works:  Musicophilia:  Tales of Music and the Brain by Oliver Sacks and Unbroken:  A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura  Hillenbrand.  Unbroken is on loan from my SIL; both she and my brother loved it.

Nonfiction is always slower reading.  There is no feeling of rushing to a conclusion, and absorbing information slowly is much easier when the reading is slowed down.
I've been letting my yoga and my walking slide.  Skipping my morning sadhana at least every other day and not attending night classes.  Boo!  I need to get back to at least every day with my personal practice...just because I feel so much better when I'm consistent.

Also, need to be watching my diet which has taken a turn for the worse this summer.  I've been indulging in way too much ice cream!


  1. I really want to read both of those non-fiction books!

  2. I often steer clear of mystery as a genre because of the graphic stuff. I am very squeamish and I hate the police procedural side of mysteries. For a mystery to be my friend, the police people in it (with their autopsies and DNA tests) should be set at a few removes from the main action of the book. :p I just read Sarah Caudwell for the first time, though, and the mysteries were so charming, and not gory at all. Just fun.

  3. I loved Unbroken (my thoughts:, it was a great read and an unbelievable story to boot.\

    Check out Lost in Shangri-La by Mitchell Zuckoff (, another great non-fiction WWII survival story.

  4. I just finished reading Unbroken in the last few days. I don't read a lot of non fiction but that was a great read.

  5. Kailana - I'm enjoying both of them! Louie Zamperini's story is both compelling and revealing about the war in the Pacific and Japanese POW camps.

    Man of la Books - Unbroken reads almost like a novel, doesn't it? I've always loved survival stories (beginning with Robinson Crusoe as a kid), so I'll check on Zukoff's book. Thanks for the tip!

    Marg - Some nonfiction is as exciting as fiction. In the case of Louie Zamperini's survival, definitely so!

  6. Jenny - I'm not that squeamish, but using violence as a hook doesn't appeal to me anymore than using sex as a hook. Like most readers, I want a good story and interesting characters, and violence/gruesome murders/sex are NOT SUBTITUTES for a well-written story!

    Even some books that I've liked have had waaayyy to much of one or more of those ingredients. It is as if even really good authors sometimes succumb to the temptation to sensationalize. With less skilled authors, all there is shock value.

  7. Any non-fiction story from the WWII should give us a huge warning of what can happen if mankind is stupid enough to engage in war.

    The Unbroken: etc. is just another perfect example.

  8. I'm definitely not interested in weird murders -- give me interesting characters every day! I'd like characters and some interesting ideas to think about. This is probably why I like Dorothy Sayers so much!

  9. I hope you enjoyed Unbroken. Louie's story is incredible!

  10. Ondrej - War stories certainly do give us a warning about the horrors of war, but we don't seem to learn.

    Dorothy - I love Dorothy Sayers, too. Peter Wimsey and the time period both make her books enjoyable, and I need to do some re-reading!

    Lisa - I've thoroughly enjoyed Unbroken so far. I've just gotten to the point where Louie returns home to his family. I was mentally exhausted by the depredations the POWs endured and am amazed at the will for survival.