Book Review, Reading Log

Reading Log: September 2018

Have you ever spoken to someone who liked to boast about how many books they read in a year?  It never occurred to me to actually count, but after talking to one such person last month, I got to wondering how my reading compares.

I definitely consider myself a reader: I read before bed on most evenings, and if I’m not in much of a hurry I read while having my morning coffee.

However, I’m not a particularly fast reader, and my struggles with attention span means I can’t just lose myself in a book for hours on end no matter how good the book is. (I have the same problem with TV and movies, too, and am unable to take part in binge-watching sessions.)

Having started this blog, and since I almost exclusively read mysteries, I thought it would be a good place to track my reading.  So without further ado, here are the books I read/finished this month:

1. Hardcore Twenty-Four by Janet Evanovich

I started reading this in August, but finished it in September and posted a detailed synopsis of it on this blog [see my post here].  I’ve been reading this series starting with the first since 2012, so it took me about 6 years to finally catch up.

Although this particular one wasn’t my favourite, I do really like the  Stephanie Plum series.  I find it light-hearted and will usually read it in between more heavy reads.

2. The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

Most of this month was spent reading this book.  I enjoyed it a lot and immediately fell in love with the main characters of Cormoran and Robin.  The one thing that puzzled me was the character of the Polish cleaning lady.

Being a Polish speaker, I couldn’t understand what her name was supposed to be — it looked like something that an English speaker would think was Polish, but definitely wasn’t. Given that the author put a lot of effort into naming all the other characters and ensuring they were ethnically accurate, it’s a bit off-putting that seemingly no effort was made in this case.

3. Gin and Daggers by Donald Bain (and Jessica Fletcher)

This is the first of the Murder, She Wrote novelizations. While the story was alright, I was bothered by several inconsistencies between the book and the show.

  1. On the show, if someone doesn’t drive, they arrive in Cabot Cove on a bus, but in the book there’s a mention of a local airport.
  2. There are a lot of references in the book to an earlier trip that Jessica made to London with Frank (her deceased husband), at which time they stayed at the Savoy.  On the show, it’s implied that when Frank was alive they were not rich enough to take overseas vacations, let alone be able to afford to stay in such a swanky hotel.
  3. Even more incongruent is the part where Jessica mentions Frank’s support of her while she worked on her novels — fans of the show know this cannot be true because Jessica only took up writing after Frank died.
  4. In the book, Jessica consistently calls Cabot Cove Sheriff Mort Metzger “Morton”.  His name was always referred to as Mort on the show, never Morton, (and I always thought Mort might be short for Mortimer).

The inconsistencies in the book may be a product of its time: the circumstances of Jessica’s writing career were only mentioned in the pilot episode aired in 1984.  Since the book was published while the show was still running, it probably wasn’t airing any reruns, and in a pre-internet age it may have been difficult to very those facts.

Also notable is the fact that the book was published in June 1989.  The previous season was the first season without Amos Tupper as Sheriff. And Mort Metzger’s character didn’t appear until an episode in February 1989, just a few months before the book’s publication. I suspect that the original draft of the book was written with Amos in mind (the Cabot Cove Sheriff’s actions/dialogue reminded me more of what Amos would do/say rather than Mort), so it’s possible that the name was changed in haste without really having enough knowledge of this new character.

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